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Report: Thigh tear to leave Pulisic out a month

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According to a report by ESPN soccer journalist Jeff Carlisle, USMNT star Christian Pulisic will miss 3-4 weeks with a torn quadriceps he suffered in the 1-1 draw with Chile this international break.

After scoring the opener in just the fourth minute, Pulisic was withdrawn just past the half-hour mark and trainers were seen on the sidenlines working on his knee or upper leg. It was revealed after the match that he was dealing with a quad injury and that he would return to Borussia Dortmund for further testing with a timetable to be determined.

Carlisle reports that a tear was discovered, and while the extent of the tear was not revealed, the report states he will sit around a month. That would leave Pulisic on the sidelines for Dortmund’s massive league matchup with Bayern Munich on April 6, and with Dortmund out of the Champions League, he may have just four Bundesliga matches remaining when he returns. Dortmund sits second in the Bundesliga table, level with Bayern on points but back on goal differential.

Pulisic, still just 20 years old, has begun to build up a worrying list of nagging muscle injuries through the last few years, piling up this season especially. He struggled with a trio of muscle injuries in the first half of the campaign that contributed to significant time on the sidelines for his club team, as well as keeping him out of USMNT duty for six straight matches from June through October. He was sidelined in February with a hamstring injury suffered in a Champions League match as well that forced him to miss three league matches.

While occasionally players suffer a run of bad luck forces them out with consecutive freak injuries, constant muscle problems are often indicative of a more predictable problem that could continue to crop up in the future, leaving Pulisic’s injury history as nothing short of concerning.

Pulisic is moving to Chelsea this offseason, and is clearly at a career crossroads, having been forced out of the Borussia Dortmund regular lineup by fellow youngster Jadon Sancho. Should Pulisic find his way back onto the field consistently, he could start fresh at Stamford Bridge. However, if the injuries continue to hold him back, it could hamper his ability to compete in a crowded Chelsea attacking midfield as he looks to impress his new club.

It’s also undoubtedly a critical time in his USMNT career. With the Gold Cup right around the corner marking Gregg Berhalter’s first competitive competition in charge, Pulisic will no doubt be a critical piece of the squad as he looks to lead the national team’s recovery from missing the 2018 World Cup. The game against Chile changed significantly after Pulisic’s departure, and Berhalter will be desperately hoping the youngster can recover his fitness in time to be a vital contributor.

Finlay goal gives Minnesota win over former club Columbus (video)

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It had to be him.

As Columbus continues to search for itself under new management, it’s no surprise that one of its old heroes broke its heart on Saturday.

[ RECAP: Man City 6-0 Watford ]

Ethan Finlay, he of the 166 Crew appearances before being traded to Minnesota United, said earlier this week, “I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t want to beat up on them pretty bad.”

So of course Finlay scored a 70th minute tap-in to give his Loons a 1-0 win over Columbus on Saturday in St. Paul. It wasn’t “pretty bad,” but it probably felt pretty good.

The goal was Finlay’s first of the season for United, keeping the hosts unbeaten at home.

Columbus falls to 1-5 away from home under Caleb Porter, and has won just once in its last seven outings.

Brighton ready to pay release clause for Swans manager

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Brighton and Hove Albion is ready to bring one of England’s brightest managerial prospects into the Premier League.

The Seagulls are set to pay a $3 million release clause to lure Graham Potter away from Swansea City, one year after the manager left Swedish club Ostersunds FK.

[ RECAP: Man City 6-0 Watford ]

Potter was 35 when he was hired by the Swedish club in 2010, and helped Ostersunds to three promotions before moving to Wales in 2018.

Swans finished 10th this season, its first in the Championship after relegation from the Premier League.

Brighton regressed in a big way during the second half of this season, and remains in the top flight largely because Cardiff City was unable to take advantage of the Seagulls’ huge struggles.

The report says Swansea offered Potter a new deal to stay at the Liberty Stadium, but the manager wants to try the Premier League.

If he takes the job, Potter will manage against one of his former clubs; Potter played eight times for Southampton in the Premier League.

Pep: Domestic treble harder than winning Champions League

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Manchester City won its third tournament of the season on Saturday, battering Watford 6-0 at Wembley Stadium to add an FA Cup to its League Cup and Premier League titles.

[ RECAP: Man City 6-0 Watford ]

In doing so, City is the first club to win a domestic treble. Manager Pep Guardiola wants to win every competition he enters, but said winning all three is extra special.

“I love the Champions League but it is more difficult to do what we have done than to win the Champions League,” Guardiola said.

Wait, what?

From ManCity.com:

“It’s not easy being there every three days. We lacked a little bit of energy but it’s normal. It’s been so tough this week. We could not have had more energy but we kept it at the right time.”

Well, that makes sense. Whereas Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp risked less with his cup lineups, knowing his desire for the Premier League and Champions League, Guardiola’s lineups were aimed at winning everything.

And that’s largely why they’ve done it. City might’ve needed penalty kicks to beat Chelsea in the League Cup Final and a John Stones clearance to win the Premier League (or a Vincent Kompany thunderbolt), but the treble is impressive.

AC Milan boss Gattuso insists fifth “not a failure”

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For a solid four months, it appeared AC Milan was on track for a return to the Champions League for the first time in six years. Then, it all fell apart.

Still, manager Gennaro Gattuso is insisting their season is not a failure, adamant that a fifth-placed finish would not be considered a disappointment for the club. His reasoning will not be exactly endearing to fans.

“Fifth place absolutely wouldn’t be a failure, not because I want credit myself, plus what would Roma and Lazio say?” Gattuso said during his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s game against Frosinone. “There’s regret because for two months we’ve had our fate in our hands and we dropped so many points, but it’s not a failure.”

Milan was as high as third place in the Serie A table in mid-March and seemed close to wrapping up a return to Champions League play, but a stretch of one win in seven league matches saw them tumble down into the crowded battle below, with Atalanta, Roma, Torino, and Lazio all in a pack. AC Milan now sits sixth, and while they still remain in the mix for the fourth position, they would need to make up a three-point deficit in just two matches. Fifth-placed Roma drew today, so they can jump to fifth with a win against Frosinone.

Milan was a European powerhouse for decades until the club declined following its 2007 Champions League victory, ultimately falling out of the running for Europe’s top competition, with just a few Europa League appearances since 2014. Gattuso’s comparison to Lazio and Roma, two strong Italian clubs without Milan’s history, is bound to infuriate fans, along with his acceptance of the club’s shortcomings.

The late-season collapse has called Gattuso’s job security into question, but he said that will wait until the end of the season. “Both the club and I have put aside our small talk to reach our objective,” Gattuso said during the presser. “There will be time to talk about the future.”

“There are two games left and we’re still playing for our objective.”