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EFL Cup: Liverpool, Arsenal move on; Newcastle hangs six

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Five of eight EFL Cup quarterfinalists are set with three matches to come on Wednesday.

Liverpool, Arsenal, Newcastle United, and Hull City clinched spots in the quarterfinals with Tuesday wins. Leeds United took the fifth spot with a rousing match that ended in penalty kicks.

[ MORE: Ballon d’Or omissions ]

Wednesday will see Manchester United vs. Manchester City, West Ham against Chelsea, and Southampton versus Sunderland.

United States men Cameron Carter-Vickers (Spurs) and DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle) started their respective matches. Gedion Zelalem played the final 10 minutes for Arsenal.

Arsenal 2-0 Reading

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored with a hard, low shot from a tight angle to give the hosts a lead, and then buttressed the score with a second half marker. Zelalem then replace “Ox” in the 80th minute.

Newcastle United 6-0 Preston North End

The “Rafalution” has Benitez’s Magpies atop the Championship, and they are thriving in the EFL Cup as well.

Mo Diame gave Newcastle an insurance goal after Aleksandar Mitrovic headed a Matt Ritchie free kick home to make it 1-0. In between those goals, Preston went down a man.

Spark plug Ritchie buried a penalty early in the second half to make it academic. Mitrovic added his second in the 55th minute, while Diame completed his brace with three minutes to play and Ayoze Perez finished the scoring in stoppage time.

Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Daniel Sturridge went to the dirty areas to poke home a very Daniel Sturridge goal, the first of two on the night in a win at Anfield.

Sturridge gave American centerback Cameron Carter-Vickers headaches all day, and Spurs goalkeeper Michel Vorm helped keep the match within a goal.

But Sturridge beat Kevin Wimmer‘s offside track and walked in alone on Vorm to slot home for a strengthened lead.

A soft penalty off an Erik Lamela dive gifted Spurs the chance to draw within one, and Vincent Janssen converted the opportunity.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 25: Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool (C) celebrates scoring his sides first goal with his Liverpool team mates during the EFL Cup fourth round match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on October 25, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Bristol City 1-2 Hull City

There wasn’t much to like at Ashton Gate before Harry Maguire put the Tigers up before the break. That may have weakened the hosts’ resolve, and Michael Dawson netted right after halftime to double Hull’s advantage.

Lee Tomlin scored a goal for Bristol City just before the final whistle.

Leeds United 2-2 Norwich City (PKs, 3-2)

Longtime Spurs property Alex Pritchard has his first Canaries goal with this marker at Elland Road. Leeds had a goal pulled back for a handball, and then equalized properly through Marcus Antonsson. That 1-1 score line held up through 90 minutes

Pritchard then provided the assist on Nelson Oliveira‘s extra time winner, but Garry Monk‘s men responded through New Zealand striker Chris Wood to push it toward penalties.

Leeds advanced by converting three penalties to Norwich’s two.

Atletico Madrid roster for MLS All-Star Game includes Felix

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Major League Soccer fans will get a good luck at one of the hottest prospects in world soccer when the MLS All Stars take on Atletico Madrid in next week’s MLS All Star Game.

Joao Felix, the $142 million 19-year-old, is among the roster announced by Diego Simeone for the match.

[ MORE: Newcastle in for $28M Saint-Maximin ]

Felix scored 20 times with 11 assists in 40 matches for Benfica before moving to Atleti in the summer. Those numbers include a hat trick against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League quarterfinals first leg.

The other stars will be there, too, provided no transfers happen in the interim. Koke, Thomas Lemar, Diego Costa, and Saul Niguez are in the squad.

New Atleti defender Kieran Trippier and longtime El Tri hero Hector Herrera will also be sure to help drive attendance in Orlando City.

The full roster is here.

Leagues Cup preview: MLS gets its next shot at Liga MX

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It’s not a typo; The s is very real.

The Leagues Cup — not the League Cup — is the new competition pitting Major League Soccer sides against some of the top sides from Mexico’s Liga MX.

The tournament has been expanded before it’s even seen a ball kicked in competition, as the second edition with go from eight to 16 teams.

[ MORE: Newcastle in for $28M Saint-Maximin ]

For now, though, we’ve got four American and four Mexican sides meeting over the next two months in a bid for North American supremacy not unlike a CONCACAF Champions League stripped of all the minnows.

Much like the CCL, the Mexican sides will be expected to triumph, even with all of the quarterfinals being staged in the United States.

Chicago Fire hosts Cruz Azul on Tuesday, followed by the LA Galaxy’s visit from Club Tijuana.

Wednesday will see the Houston Dynamo host Club America, and Tigres UANL at Real Salt Lake.

The winners meet Aug. 20, while the final will be played Sept. 18 in Las Vegas.

There’s a lot of promise in this, and it gives MLS another chance to make some statements about the distance between it and Liga MX. The Mexican sides have flat out dominated the CCL, and it’s not difficult to make the same prediction for this tournament.

But, like many tournaments, it also gives success-starved clubs a chance to give their fans something big and their players a tonic. For Bastian Schweinsteiger‘s Chicago, for one, it’s a huge opportunity. And for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the Galaxy, it’s a look toward another piece of silverware for one of the world’s biggest trophy cases.

USMNT prospect Ledezma earns praise from van Nistelrooy

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Even for talents of the highest levels with top soccer education, sometimes a kid’s gotta learn how to eat.

Richard “Richie” Ledezma, 18, is in the midst of his first year at Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven, a spot which beckoned after a five-match, one-goal season in the USL with Real Monarchs of the USL.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

Ledezma starred for U.S. U-20 team at the World Cup after his first half-season with PSV, which saw him play with the U-19s while trying to lose some weight.

From Goal.com:

“PSV help me with my nutrition, with my food and how I eat. It’s the quantity of food you eat, I guess,” he added. “Because I came a little chubby, when I got here, I guess. They all called me ‘fatty’ and stuff, so I was like, cool, you know? So no more McDonald’s.”

Goal’s James Westwood had a wide-ranging interview with Ledezma and also spoke with soccer royalty: longtime Real Madrid and Manchester United scorer Ruud van Nistelrooy was Ledezma’s coach with the U-19s.

“He’s making a difference in midfield with very quick-thinking passes, movement, can score a goal, play people in, he’s creating chances for the whole team.”

That’s not just good praise from a legend, but a solid sign for fans of the United States men’s national team. A proper No. 10 or playmaking midfielder could allow Gregg Berhalter or another future USMNT coach to use Christian Pulisic on the wings.

Ledezma has some work to do before he breaks into the first team of the Dutch runners-up, who have signed former Stoke City man Ibrahim Afellay and has Gaston Pereiro in the fold as well.

Newcastle reportedly in for $28M mercurial Nice attacker

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L’Equipe says that Newcastle United have returned to Nice in the hopes of landing Allan Saint-Maximin.

The Ligue 1 outfit wants $28 million for the playmaker, who could team up with Miguel Almiron and (maybe) Joelinton to give the Magpies a much-improved attack.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

Saint-Maximin, 22, has 10 goals and 10 assists across his last two seasons with Nice, and played everywhere in attack for Patrick Vieira: both wings, center forward, second striker, attacking mid… even some left and right midfield.

The player, however, has been a headache for Vieira at times, with the manager saying Saint-Maximin believes that he has enough talent to reach the highest level without the required amount of work.

That said, the youngster’s skill set is electric. He’s a March birth date, too, so a relatively young 22. That $28 million would be another transfer record broken for Newcastle, assuming it happens ahead of the Joelinton move.

Or… as Newcastle fan knows, neither could go through.