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Premier League preseason roundup: Wins for Liverpool, Palace, Swansea

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10 Premier League teams were in action on Saturday as many completed their preseason schedules ahead of the new season kicking off on Aug. 12.

[ MORE: Every PL season preview ] 

There were marquee wins for Liverpool and Crystal Palace, while plenty of other PL sides tasted narrow defeats as they get their house in order ahead of the long, hard season ahead.

Below is a brief recap on every game which took place on Saturday involving PL teams.


Barcelona 0-4 Liverpool

Sadio Mane tore Barca apart as Liverpool’s high-pressing game stunned the Spanish giants. Mane scored in the first half after good link-up play between Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino, and his cross at the start of the second half led to Javier Mascherano knocking into his own net. Divock Origi added a third after another Barca giveaway and Marko Grujic headed home a sublime fourth in front of early 90,000 fans at Wembley Stadium. Liverpool has one more preseason game, playing Mainz 05 on Sunday in Germany.

Crystal Palace 3-1 Valencia

Connor Wickham scored twice and Mile Jedinak added a penalty kick as Palace made it seven wins from eight preseason games. Wickham struck twice in the first half, while Jedinak made it 3-0 before La Liga outfit Valencia pulled a goal back through Jaume Domenech late on.

Swansea City 1-0 Stade Rennais

Francesco Guidolin‘s side completed their preseason schedule with five wins from six as they beat Ligue 1 side Stade Rennais at the Liberty Stadium. Sub Jay Fulton scored the only goal of the game as new signing Fernando Llorente made his debut for the Swans.

Everton 0-1 Espanyol

The Toffees lost 1-0 to La Liga outfit Espanyol in their final preseason friendly. New signing Idrissa Gueye gave away a PK just four minutes into his debut and Leonardo Baptistao slammed home the PK. Everton had a PK of their own in the first half but Ross Barkley‘s effort was saved. A plus point for Everton was skipper Phil Jagielka returning from injury a week before the new season.

Hamburg 1-0 Stoke City

Mark Hughes fielded a strong Stoke side in his final preseason game before the new season, with only Marko Arnautovic not featuring as he recovers from a slight knock. The only goal of the game in Germany arrived early in the second half as Michael Gregoritsch reacted quickest for Hamburger SV. New Egyptian signing Ramadan Sobhi started wih Xherdan Shaqiri and Bojan Krkic in the three attacking midfield positions behind Mame Diouf. USMNT star Geoff Cameron started at right back for Stoke and got a solid 70 minutes of action under his belt, while Bobby Wood also appeared for Hamburg after his transfer to the Bundesliga side this summer.

Hull City 1-2 Torino

Managerless Hull City lost to Serie A outfit Torino in Austria in their final preseason fixture. Caretaker boss Mike Phelan could be in charge for their opening game back in the PL next weekend against Leicester but there’s certainly plenty of work to do for the newly-promoted Tigers. Belotti opened the scoring for Torino but Abel Hernandez equalized for Hull who are short on players with no new signings this summer. Bovo supplied a stunning winner late on to hand Torino the victory.

Real Mallorca 1-0 West Brom 

The Baggies lost their final preseason game away to Spanish second division side Real Mallorca. The only goal of the game came from Brandon as Tony Pulis‘ men went through their paces ahead of their opener against Crystal Palace next weekend.

Watford 2-2 Lorient

Walter Mazzarri‘s side completed their preseason with a draw against Ligue 1 side Lorient. Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo but scored for the Hornets but they were cancelled out by Toure  and Philippoteaux for the French side. Watford gets its new PL campaign underway against Southampton next Saturday.

Angers 0-1 Bournemouth

Marc Pugh‘s fine strike after two minutes saw Bourenmouth beat Ligue 1 side Angers in France to round off their seven-game preseason unbeaten. The Cherries face Manchester United next Sunday in their opening PL game of the season.

Middlesbourgh 0-0 Real Sociedad

PL new boys drew against the La Liga outfit as Aitor Karanka‘s side gave home debuts to five new players at the Riverside Stadium. USMNT’s Brad Guzan did not feature,

Reyna, Busio headline U.S. U-17 squad for CONCACAF Championships

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Two of the top teen-aged talents the U.S. has ever produced will be wearing the red, white, and blue next month at the 2019 CONCACAF Under-17 Men’s Championship.

U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Raphael Wicky announced his 20-man squad for the upcoming tournament, set to take place at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. It’s a small irony, as this is the first year without the residency program that was housed on the IMG Academy property.

The U.S. squad is led by Sporting KC midfielder Gianluca Busio and the son of USMNT legend, Claudio Reyna, Giovanni, who is reportedly set to join Borussia Dortmund’s academy officially in the coming months. Also included in this squad is FC Dallas youngster Ricardo Pepi, who already has four goals in USL League One this season. Another forward, Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez is coming into the camp in red-hot form, having scored a hat-trick and helped lead his Seattle Sounders to the GA Cup title.

Griffin Yow just made his full D.C. United debut, and Las, just 17, has already reportedly attracted attention from Europe.

Here’s a look at the U.S. roster.

GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Damian Las (Chicago Fire; Norridge, Ill.; 13/0), 12-Chituru Odunze (Vancouver Whitecaps FC/CAN; Calgary, Alta.; 4/0)
DEFENDERS (7): 4-Axel Alejandre (FC United; Chicago, Ill.; 14/0), 3-Adam Armour (North Carolina FC; Cary, N.C.; 11/0), 13-Mauricio Cuevas (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.; 2/0), 14-Tayvon Gray (New York City FC; Bronx, N.Y.; 10/0), 5-Kobe Hernandez (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.; 14/1), 2-Joseph Scally (New York City FC; Lake Grove, N.Y.; 14/1), 15-John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls; Chatham, N.J.; 3/0)
MIDFIELDERS (5): 7-Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City; Greensboro, N.C.; 7/2), 20-Gilbert Fuentes (San Jose Earthquakes; Tracy, Calif.; 13/0), 8-Bryang Kayo (D.C. United; Poolesville, Md.; 0/0), 6-Daniel Leyva (Seattle Sounders FC; Las Vegas, Nev.; 0/0), 16-Adam Saldana (LA Galaxy; Panorama City, Calif.; 17/1)
FORWARDS (6): 18-Jack de Vries (Philadelphia Union; Wayne, Pa.; 0/0), 17-Tyler Freeman (Sporting Kansas City; Shawnee, Kan.; 3/1), 19-Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (Tacoma Defiance; Kent, Wash.; 14/5), 9-Ricardo Pepi (North Texas SC; McKinney, Texas; 6/1), 10-Giovanni Reyna (Unattached; Bedford, N.Y.; 8/1), 11-Griffin Yow (D.C. United; Clifton, Va.; 6/3)

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Man City preparing $79 million bid this summer; Bale to leave Real Madrid

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Pep Guardiola has identified the successor to Fernandinho, and he’s convinced Manchester City to break the bank to acquire him.

[READ: JPW’s Premier League picks]

Per a report in The Telegraph, Manchester City is preparing a transfer bid of nearly $79 million to sign Atletico Madrid central midfielder Rodrigo Hernandez Cascante, better known as Rodri. In his first season in Madrid, the 22-year-old has made 28 La Liga starts along with six in the UEFA Champions League, anchoring the second-place Atletico Madrid midfield.

In addition to his defensive duties, he’s also scored a pair of goals this season.

If true, Rodri’s transfer will break Man City’s previous record when it signed Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City for almost $78 million.

Fernandinho continues to be a world class holding midfielder, but coming up on 34-years old, he’s surely coming up on time when he won’t be able to cover as much ground as he used to. With Rodri in tow, Fernandinho can slowly take a reserve role in the team, or move to another club for one last big contract.

Here are some more transfer rumors from around Europe:

(more…)

USMNT’s Brooks scores equalizer for Wolfsburg

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John Brooks is enjoying a career year for Wolfsburg, and he just added another highlight to his strong season.

Brooks, running up in the attack in a rare foray forward, tapped home into an empty net to save Wolfsburg a point at home in its 1-1 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt. It was Brooks’ third goal of the season and second in the last two months.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The U.S. Men’s National Team centerback has played and started 29 times this season for Wolfsburg, the most games he’s ever played in a single season in Germany’s top tier. Brooks started alongside Aaron Long in the USMNT’s 1-0 win over Ecuador in Orlando in late March, and could play a key role for the USMNT this summer at the Gold Cup, unless coach Gregg Berhalter decides to let him rest this summer.

Season over: Hudson-Odoi suffers suspected Achilles tear

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One incident on Monday showed why some players are so desperate to change clubs when given the chance. They may never get it again.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Callum Hudson-Odoi said on his Instagram post Monday evening that he had suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon. If confirmed by the club, it’s usually a nine-month recovery process, with some players needing a full year to return to full fitness. Considering the timing of this, towards the end of the season, it means that Hudson-Odoi may miss an entire season of top-flight soccer, as well as possibly miss out on a chance to move to Bayern Munich this summer.

The injury is a huge blow to the 18-year-old, who had forced his way into the Chelsea side after strong performances in the UEFA Europa League, and now he’s making regular Premier League starts at the tender age of 18. Hudson-Odoi had started four-straight Premier League games including Monday, but now he faces a long layoff.

In Hudson-Odoi’s favor is his youth. While it can be a career-ending injury, hopefully Hudson-Odoi could retain his electric pace once he recovers and can return to the starting lineup for Chelsea.

But it’s a big disappointment to the young Englishman, who surely would have played for England youth national teams this summer and could have potentially made a big-money move abroad.