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Who are the key contenders for USMNT job?

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Fresh from the news that USMNT GM Earnie Stewart has begun interviewing candidates for the vacant managerial position, plenty of names are being thrown around regarding the favorite to land the gig.

Gregg Berhalter seems to be the overwhelming favorite to become the next permanent manager of the U.S. men’s national team, with the current Columbus Crew coach working wonders in Ohio in tough circumstances over the past few years.

He reportedly gave a “no comment” response when asked if he has been interviewed by his former USMNT teammate Stewart but with the Crew’s potential relocation to Austin, Texas, Berhalter has a natural break in his current job which could suit the USMNT. However, the LA Galaxy not having a current permanent head coach could suggest that Berhalter may head back to his former team. He is a man in demand.

Who are the other main contenders?

It appears the decision has been delayed until now (much to the annoyance of most USMNT fans) due to many MLS coaches being under consideration, with Peter Vermes, Greg Vanney and Gerardo Martino all said to be candidates.

Current interim head coach Dave Sarachan, who has held that role since last October when Bruce Arena resigned, will also be among the contenders but it is likely he will take up a coaching role within U.S. Soccer rather than the main gig.

Another contender is Jesse Marsch who took a slightly bizarre decision to leave the New York Red Bulls earlier this season and head to their sister club, RB Leipzig, in the Bundesliga to become an assistant coach for the 2018-19 campaign. Marsch, like Berhalter, worked miracles with the Red Bulls and his ability to nurture young U.S. talent will no doubt have him high on this list of candidates.

Both Berhalter and Marsch are former USMNT stars and know the program inside out, with Marsch Bob Bradley‘s assistant coach in the past. And for fellow former USMNT players Vermes and Vanney, well, they both have plumb jobs with two of MLS’ most successful franchises in recent years. Despite TFC’s downturn in 2018, Vanney still seems to be in a safe position for now. As for Tata Martino, his lack of English suggests he will not be in the running even though his time at Atlanta United is reportedly coming to an end.

There is also a list of what we call “fantasy appointments” with Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho and David Moyes all included. The latter has been seen at recent USMNT games but the last thing the U.S. need right now is to hire a coach who is detached from the American game and will take 6-12 months to get to know the playing squad. They’ve stood still for too long in this search and a coach from within the domestic game would be the smart move.

Former Portland Timbers boss Caleb Porter and current U.S. U-20 head coach Tab Ramos are also said to be among the more serious contenders, but when it comes to where the USMNT want to be in the future it appears two coaches stand out above the rest.

Berhalter and Marsch.

Both have turned their MLS clubs into hard-working, successful units where young U.S. players have been nurtured and turned into international caliber players. Both are passionate about the American game and both are in situations where they’d be able to head to the USMNT job quickly, which is needed after 12 months of stagnation.

Stewart is cracking on with his job to find a USMNT coach who will give young players a chance and give this team a much-needed identity in the coming months and years as they build towards qualifying for the 2022 World Cup. The U.S. must cast the net far and wide but Berhalter and Marsch are the most viable options if the USMNT’s talented youngsters are to reach their full potential.

Champions League permutations: Who needs what?

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Here’s a quick reminder of how many teams from each group have already reached the last 16:

Group A: Paris St-Germain (winners), Real Madrid (runners up)
Group B: Bayern Munich (winners), Tottenham (runners up)
Group C: Manchester City (winners)
Group D: Juventus (winners)
Group E: None
Group F: Barcelona (winners)
Group G: RB Leipzig
Group H: None

And here’s what teams in each group need to do to advance:

Group C
Shakhtar Donetsk will reach the last 16 if they win at home against Atalanta, while both Atalanta and Dinamo Zagreb can still reach the last 16 with wins.

Group D
Atletico Madrid will secure their spot in the last 16 if they beat Lokomotiv Moscow at home, but if they draw or lose and Bayer Leverkusen win at home against group winners Juventus, the German side will go through.

Group E
Red Bull Salzburg will reach the last 16 if they beat Liverpool at home, while the reigning UCL champions need just a point to make it to the knockout rounds. However,  if Liverpool lose they will be out unless Napoli lose at home to Genk too or if Liverpool score four away goals or more and only lose by one goal (eg a 5-4 loss) combined with a Napoli defeat they will go through. Napoli need a point in their final game at home against Genk to reach the last 16.

Group F
Inter Milan will make the last 16 if they beat Barcelona at home but if they don’t win then Borussia Dortmund will go through by bettering Inter’s result. Dortmund host Slavia Prague at home.

Group G
Leipzig have already qualified and will finish top of the group with a win. Zenit will reach the last 16 if they win away at already eliminated Benfica, while Lyon can qualify if they better Zenit’s result from the final game.

Group H
Chelsea know they will reach the last 16 with a win at home to already eliminated Lille. Ajax only need a draw to make the last 16, while Valencia need a win at Ajax to advance. Chelsea will also reach the last if they draw against Lille and Ajax beat Valencia.

Champions League score predictions: Matchweek 6

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The sixth and final matchday of the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League group stage is here, and two of the four Premier League clubs needing to avoid defeat to go through.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

Fans of Liverpool and Chelsea will both be sweating ahead of their group stage finales.

Below we predict the scores for all 16 UCL games taking place over the next two days, with Tottenham heading to Bayern Munich able to rest players,  while reigning champions Liverpool head to Jesse March’s Salzburg needing a draw to advance but the hosts will go through with a win.

As for Chelsea, they host Lille needing a win to secure their route to the last 16 and a draw could be enough if Valencia lose to Ajax, while Man City travel to Dinamo Zagreb already confirmed as group winners.

Feel free to make your own predictions in the comments section below, too.


Group E
Red Bull Salzburg 3-5 Liverpool
Napoli 3-1 Genk

Group F
Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Slavia Prague
Inter Milan 2-2 Barcelona

Group G
Lyon 2-1 Leipzig
Benfica 0-2 Zenit

Group H
Chelsea 1-1 Lille
Ajax 2-2 Valencia


Group A
PSG 3-0 Galatasaray
Club Brugge 1-2 Real Madrid

Group B
Bayern Munich 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Olympiacos 3-1 Red Star Belgrade

Group C
Shakhtar Donetsk 1-3 Atalanta
Dinamo Zagreb 1-3 Man City

Group D
Bayer Leverkusen 2-2 Juventus
Atletico Madrid 2-1 Lokomotiv Moscow

MLS teams learn opponents for CCL last 16

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The draw for the last 16 of the CONCACAF Champions League took place late Monday and some intriguing clashes have been set up to kick off the knockout rounds.

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2019 Supporters’ Shield champs LAFC face Liga MX’s Club Leon, while NYCFC fave San Carlos from Costa Rica, 2019 MLS Cup champs Seattle Sounders square off with Honduran side Olimpia, the Montreal Impact face Costa Rica’s Saprissa and Atlanta United also have Honduran opponents in Motagua.

Fans of MLS teams will not need reminding that Liga MX have dominated this competition, with a team from Mexico winning this competition each season since 2006.

Below is the schedule in full for the knockout rounds of the tournament, which begin in mid-February.

2020 CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 schedule

Leg 1: Feb. 18-20; Leg 2: Feb. 25-27. First team listed hosts Leg 2.

  1. Atlanta United (USA) vs. Motagua (HON)
  2. Club America (MEX) vs. Comunicaciones (GUA)
  3. Cruz Azul (MEX) vs. Portmore United (JAM)
  4. LAFC (USA) vs. Club Leon (MEX)
  5. Tigres UANL (MEX) vs. Alianza (SLV)
  6. NYCFC (USA) vs. San Carlos (CRC)
  7. Seattle Sounders (USA) vs. Olimpia (HON)
  8. Montreal Impact (CAN) vs. Saprissa (CRC)


Leg 1: March 10-12; Leg 2: March 17-19. Winner of odd-numbered Round of 16 game hosts Leg 2.

  • Winner 1 vs. Winner 2
  • Winner 3 vs. Winner 4
  • Winner 5 vs. Winner 6
  • Winner 7 vs. Winner 8


Leg 1: Apr. 7-9; Leg 2: Apr. 14-16. Hosting determined by performance in prior rounds.

  • Winner 1/2 vs. Winner 3/4
  • Winner 5/6 vs. Winner 7/8


Leg 1: April 28-30; Leg 2: May 5-7. Hosting determined by performance in prior rounds.

  • Winner SF1 vs. Winner SF2

Arsenal issue injury update

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Arsenal have issued an injury update on several players after their win at West Ham on Monday.

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Interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg will have an injury headache to sort out, especially at full back, as Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney were both injured before and during the 3-1 win at the London Stadium.

Bellerin felt his hamstring go in the warm up and the Spaniard was replaced by Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who performed well.

“Hector had a feeling in his hamstring during the warm-up and we took the decision. Not going to force anyone to play if they don’t feel 100%,” Ljungberg said. “It was a straight swap on that with Ainsley. Ainsley has been out in the cold a little bit but came in and did really well. I’m really proud of him.”

As for Tierney, who suffered a shoulder injury during the game, the prognosis on the Scottish left back doesn’t appear as positive as Bellerin.

“It’s something with his shoulder but I don’t know exactly what that is. We obviously had to take him off. He’s going to hospital to get it checked,” Ljungberg added.

The Gunners have enough defensive issues as it is without throwing a few injuries to arguably their best right and left backs.

Arsenal have plenty of walking wounded right now, as Rob Holding wasn’t in the squad to face West Ham due to a knee injury flaring up, while Dani Ceballos and Emile Smith-Rowe are still working their way back to full fitness.

Remarkably, Arsenal are just seven points off the top four given the firing of Unai Emery, their woeful defensive displays and their worst-ever start to a season.

Ljungberg’s boys host Man City on Sunday (Watch live, 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via which looks like being a straight shootout between two teams who can score at will but can’t keep them out at the other end.

The Gunners are great to watch for the neutrals, but these defensive injuries continue to hamper any recovery post-Emery.