Donovan eager to help Galaxy in reserve role

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In some cases, the birth of a child and starting a family makes a person want to step back from their professional careers.

That wasn’t the case for Landon Donovan in choosing to make his return to the LA Galaxy.

[ MORE: MLS Weekend Preview — Whitecaps, Crew facing desperation ]

In an interview with Galaxy TV, the former U.S. Men’s National Team attacker stated that watching his teammates in the past with their own families in post-match settings helped encourage his decision to return to the pitch.

“I thought back to all the games where guys, postgame, would come down with their significant others and bring their children down to the field and the kids were always running around and playing and I was always envious of that.”

Donovan, now 34, has clearly changed as a person since the last time he stepped out on the field for the Galaxy. He’s opted to change his number to 26 in honor of the date his son Talon was born (January 26).

After some initial hesitation and jokes amongst himself and his former teammates and coaches, Donovan opted to give MLS another chance, after spending over 14 seasons in the top-flight of American soccer.

“I received a few sort of half-hearted, friendly, joking texts from some of the players and a few of the staff saying, ‘Are you going to come back? Are you going to come back and help?’” he said. “I reminded them I hadn’t played a meaningful soccer game in almost two years, so it was not something I considered seriously.

“But the more I kind of started to think about it and talk to my family, I thought if this is something the team really wants, needs and feels like I can help, then maybe it’s something I should consider.”

Donovan also insisted that while he is eager to get back out on the field to help the five-time MLS Cup champions that he is ready to assume a more limited role under Bruce Arena.

“I don’t have some crazy urge to go running around a soccer field again,” Donovan said. “But I do like to help, I do love this team, I love the club, I love the organization. And it seems like the situation played out in a way where the team could use a little bit of help almost probably exclusively in a reserve role or as a substitute to help try and fill the shoes left by Gyasi (Zardes), Nigel (de Jong) and some of the other guys who are injured.”

There’s no question that the Galaxy — who have largely been seen as one of the league’s most dangerous sides again in 2016 — have been severely damaged by injuries throughout the season. Jelle Van Damme and Steven Gerrard are currently out with MCL and hamstring injuries, respectively, while Robbie Keane is also sitting out.

[ MORE: How effective would Donovan be in return to Galaxy? ]

It’s the injury to Gyasi Zardes though, one that will keep him out for at least the remainder of the regular season, that has given Donovan a chance to make his mark on the Galaxy yet again.

Without Zardes, the Galaxy do have options to fill the void left by the USMNT attacker, however, Sebastian Lletget and Emmanuel Boateng simply don’t possess the experience that Donovan has in big-game situations come the MLS Cup playoffs.

Report: Marco Silva fired by Everton

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Marco Silva has been fired as manager of Everton, making him the fourth Premier League manager to lose his job in the last 16 days, according to multiple reports out of the UK.

[ MORE: Lampard: Pulisic can reach “top level of world football” ]

Silva reported for a regular day’s work at Everton’s training ground on Thursday, a day after suffering a 5-2 defeat to local rivals Liverpool, all while a conference call was expected to take place involving the relevant figures: owner Farhad Moshiri, chairman Bill Kenright, chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale and director of football Marcel Brands.

15 games into the 2019-20 PL season, the Toffees currently sit 18th in the league table with less than a point per game — relegation territory — on the back of three straight losses and just four wins all season. Silva’s only victory since mid-October came against fellow bottom-four side Southampton nearly a month ago.

[ MORE: Ole gushes over “the best performance Rashford has had under me” ]

It’s not just the number of losses for Everton (now up to nine) on the season thus far, but many of the sides to which they’ve lost (newly promoted Aston Villa, 12th-place Bournemouth, newly promoted Sheffield United, 11th-place Burnley, 16th-place Brighton & Hove Albion and 19th-place Norwich, to name a few) that forced them further and further down the table and made relegation a semi-serious threat, at least for the time being.

Watch Live: Arsenal v. Brighton, Sheffield Utd v. Newcastle

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Matchweek 15 of the 2019-20 Premier League season wraps up on Thursday, with two more midweek clashes featuring two mid-table sides, and two more from much nearer to the relegation zone, in action.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ] 

First up, PL new boys (and 9th-place side) Sheffield United will host 14th-place Newcastle United, who sit just two points outside the relegation zone ahead of kickoff. 45 minutes later, 10th-place Arsenal will host 16th-place Brighton & Hove Albion in Freddie Ljungberg’s first home game as Arsenal interim manager.

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The schedule for Thursday’s two games is below and you can stream each game live by clicking on the links.


2:30 p.m. ET: Sheffield United v. Newcastle United [STREAM]
3:15 p.m. ET: Arsenal v. Brighton & Hove Albion [STREAM]

Atleti escapes major punishment for fans’ Griezmann threats

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MADRID (AP) Atletico Madrid escaped major punishment Wednesday after its fans made threatening chants against former player Antoine Griezmann during last weekend’s La Liga match against Barcelona.

[ MORE: Lampard: Pulisic can reach “top level of world football” ]

The Spanish league had denounced the club after some fans chanted “Die Griezmann” in Sunday’s match, won by Barcelona at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid.

The Spanish soccer federation said it would fine Atletico $333 because the game was disrupted, but it did not cite the chants against Griezmann. The fine was prompted mainly because fans threw objects — including an umbrella — onto the field.

The Spanish league had denounced the club to the federation’s anti-violence committee, saying about 2,000 fans from Atletico’s “ultras” section made the chants for about 20 seconds before the start of the second half, and again later in the game.

[ MORE: Ole gushes over “the best performance Rashford has had under me” ]

Griezmann left Atletico for Barcelona at the end of last season in a transfer worth more than $132 million.

The France forward was jeered nearly every time he touched the ball at the Metropolitano on Sunday. It was his first match at Atletico’s stadium since leaving the club.

Klopp to take first team to Club World Cup, leave youth for EFL Cup

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Jurgen Klopp has chosen his strongest possible Liverpool squad to take to the Club World Cup later this month, leaving a reserve- and youth-laden team behind to compete in the EFL Cup during the same period.

[ MORE: Lampard: Pulisic can reach “top level of world football” ]

Liverpool will head to Doha, Qatar, for the Club World Cup, where they’ll play their semifinal fixture against one of Monterrey (Mexico), Al-Saad (Qatar) or Hienghene Sport (New Caledonia) on Dec. 18. The day prior, on Dec. 17, the Reds will also play away to Aston Villa in the quarterfinals of the League Cup. With the club’s star-studded first team in Qatar, progression to the semifinals of the League Cup will be down to a team full of teenage prospects.

Only defender Joel Matip and midfielder Fabinho, both of whom are currently injured and unavailable, were left out of the Club World Cup squad.

[ MORE: Ole gushes over “the best performance Rashford has had under me” ]

Players suffering from illness or injury prior to Liverpool’s first Club World Cup game can be replaced in the squad up to 24 hours before kickoff.

Liverpool’s Club World Cup squad

Goalkeepers: Alisson, Adrian, Andy Lonergan

Defenders: Virgil Van Dijk, Dejan Lovren, Joe Gomez, Andrew Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold

Midfielders: Georginio Wijnaldum, James Milner, Naby Keita, Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana, Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott, Neco Williams

Forwards: Firmino, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Xherdan Shaqiri, Rhian Brewster, Divock Origi