MLS Defender of the Year Zimmerman speaks MLS Playoffs, USMNT

MLS Playoffs
Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

MLS Playoffs: The play-in games for the MLS Cup Playoffs begin Friday with in an international tete-a-tete prior to brand new clubs matching in the Western Conference.

[ MORE: MLS scoreboard and schedule ]

New England hosts Montreal just after dinner before expansion sides Inter Miami and Nashville SC tangle in Tennessee.

Nashville SC v Inter Miami CF

9 pm ET Friday

Two expansion teams meet in Tennessee, where Nashville hopes its MLS Defender of the Year can thwart one of the best scorers of the last decade in Europe.

Walker Zimmerman is the defender in question and Gonzalo Higuain the forward, as two teams with very different first seasons tangle in a play-in game.

MLS announced Zimmerman’s award on Wednesday. He remains a fierce tackler and well-positioned defender, but he’s advanced the ball more this season and is having his best season in key passes.

ProSoccerTalk asked Zimmerman about what’s different this year, especially given his coach is known for a strict and demanding defensive set-up.

“With every team you’re asked to do different things,” Zimmerman said. “When you play with two holding mids who are diligent in their defensive work, I feel comfortable knowing that Dax and Godoy can move over and step into that space (if he advances). It’s been fun to attack a bit more. I’ve been caught a couple of times this year. It’s my job to make sure I go forward in a smart and controlled manner.”

Nashville is led by a former MLS Cup-winning coach in Gary Smith, whose 2010 Colorado Rapids surprised the field with a run to the cup from the league’s seventh-best record.

Led by Zimmerman, Dax McCarty, and Anibal Godoy, Smith’s men are going to grind against the 10th-seed IMCF.

“They’ve gone about their business very differently to us and that’s easy to see in the way that they’ve put this group together,” Smith said of Miami. “What you see with the two teams is soccer in general… We feel as though we’ve created some very strong foundations and I would suspect maybe there’s a little bit more disappointment in their camp.”

[ MORE: Top 25 USMNT players right now ]

The Georgia-born USMNT back, 27, has been considered one of the best center backs in the league dating back to his partnership with Matt Hedges.

Back then, we were asking him about his future USMNT hopes. Now he’s a mainstay who may be the best match for the national team’s No. 1 left center back in John Brooks.

Now Zimmerman has 12 caps and two goals for the U.S., whose head coach Gregg Berhalter is weighing up the best options for a center back corps that includes Brooks, Matt Miazga, Chris Richards, Tim Ream, and others.

Zimmerman told ProSoccerTalk he was just as excited as USMNT fans to watch young prospects like Giovanni Reyna and Yunus Musah make their first starts for Gregg Berhalter.

“Really excited, lot of debuts,” Zimmerman said. “I know the staff was excited to get back out there. I know when the next camp rolls around, a lot of MLS guys will be looking forward to doing the same.”

Zimmerman’s award coming while Miazga had one subpar and one poor match in the U.S. shirt has moved him up in our Top 25 players in the USMNT pool.

Nashville and Inter Miami met twice in late summer, with Inter failing to score as Nashville won in Tennessee and drew in Florida.

New England Revolution versus Montreal Impact

9 pm ET Friday

It’s old versus new when legendary MLS coach Bruce Arena goes up against first-time manager Thierry Henry in the 9-10 match-up.

Arena is giving a lot of credit to the former Arsenal, Barcelona, and New York Red Bulls star for his success despite playing away from home for most of the season due to COVID-19 restrictions at the United States border.

He also appreciates the way Henry has marshaled his team.

“He’s been pretty determined about the fact that he wanted his team to play and they build out of pressure and they’ve been pretty consistent with that,” Arena said, via “That’s not easy to do in a first year with a team, so I give him a lot of credit for that.”

Montreal beat New England on Feb. 29 but has since thrice lost to the Revolution.

MLS betting odds
(Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

New England (-160) v Montreal (+400) | Draw (+320)

Nashville (+140) v Inter Miami (+200) | Draw (+225)

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links

How to watch MLS playoffs, stream and start times

Match No. 1: New England versus Montreal
Kickoff time: 6:30 pm ET Friday
TV Channel: FS1
Stream: Fox Sports Go

Match No. 2: Nashville SC v Inter Miami CF
Kickoff: 9 pm ET Friday
TV Channel: ESPN2
Stream: ESPN

Chelsea vs Aston Villa: How to watch live, stream link, team news


Chelsea and Aston Villa clash at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and a win for the visitors will move them above Chelsea in the table.


Graham Potter’s Chelsea were pinned back before the international break as they drew 2-2 at home against Everton after leading twice. However, they are unbeaten in their last five games in all competitions and have reached the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals. Things are looking a bit better for the Blues in their 3-4-3 formation and the pressure has eased on Potter slightly as players continue to return from injury. A win against Villa this weekend will keep their slim hopes of a top four finish alive but a top six finish is probably as good as it will get for them this season.

Unai Emery has done a phenomenal job at Villa with the Spanish coach leading them from a relegation scrap to a quest for European qualification within just a few months. Villa are resolute defensively and have a clear playing style as they love to catch opponents out on the counter and they did that brilliantly in their 3-0 win against Bournemouth last time out. With three wins in their last four, can Villa continue their surge and push for a top six finish?

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

Here’s everything you need for Chelsea vs Aston Villa.

How to watch Chelsea vs Aston Villa live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 12:30pm ET, Saturday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via

Key storylines & in-form players to watch

Chelsea have so many players stepping up in recent weeks but Joao Felix and Kai Havertz have really got going in attack. The duo are scoring goals, creating chances and Chelsea look much more confident when they get into the final third. Enzo Fernandez and Benoit Badiashile have both slotted in seamlessly following their January moves. Yes, Chelsea are still a long way back when it comes to the top four but they are they kind of team who can go on a long unbeaten run and they certainly have so many options with a massive squad of players all pushing to start in this new fluid 3-4-3 system.

Villa’s recent success has been built on solid defense and Emiliano Martinez in goal and Tyrone Mings at center back have been back to their best. Ollie Watkins leading the line always causes problems and midfield creators and wingers always seem to be ready to counter and cause a surprise. Emery has done a remarkable job at Villa and it will be a lot of fun to see how close they can get to a top six finish this season.

Chelsea team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Thiago Silva (knee), Armando Broja (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Raheem Sterling (hamstring), Mason Mount (abdominal), Edouard Mendy (shoulder), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (back), Cesar Azpilicueta (head), Reece James (thigh), Wesley Fofana (thigh)

Aston Villa team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Jed Steer (calf) QUESTIONABLE: Philippe Coutinho (thigh), Matty Cash (calf), Boubacar Kamara (ankle), Leander Dendoncker (hand)

Bournemouth vs Fulham: How to watch live, stream link, team news


Bournemouth host Fulham at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday hoping to take another huge step towards Premier League safety.


The Cherries stunned Liverpool in their last home game but were brought back down to earth with a thud as they were hammered at Aston Villa before the international break. Still, Gary O’Neil’s side are just one point from safety with 11 games to go and have a real chance of staying up. Plus, some of their January signings look like real gamechangers and this game between the newly-promoted duo delivered a thrilling 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage earlier this season.

Fulham have struggled in recent weeks as they’ve lost two in a row in the Premier League and then their incredible meltdown at Manchester United in the FA Cup quarterfinal saw them crash out of the competition with Aleksandar Mitrovic, Willian and manager Marco Silva all sent off. Add in that Mitrovic and Silva were both charged by the FA and it was an absolute mess with Fulham’s talisman losing the plot as he pushed the referee. The Cottagers will be hoping for a straightforward trip, and win, down to the South Coast to get them back on track.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

Here’s everything you need for Bournemouth vs Fulham.

How to watch Bournemouth vs Fulham live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday
TV Channel: Peacock
Online: Stream via Peacock Premium

Key storylines & in-form players to watch

Gary O’Neil has set Bournemouth up to be dangerous on the counter attack and that works well against teams who love to dominate possession. Fulham love to do that and this tactic could suit the Cherries in this game. Dominic Solanke has led the line superbly, Neto has been excellent in goal and Dango Ouatrara has been sensational since arriving in January as his speed and direct running has given Bournemouth an extra dimension.

Fulham have just lost their way after an incredible season so far. They are still in the battle for European qualification as they sit in the top 10 and now they have to finish the campaign strong to keep positive vibes flowing. Marco Silva wants them to snap into challenges, press high and keep the ball when they have it and they are horrible to play against.

Bournemouth team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Junior Stanislas (undisclosed), Marcus Tavernier (thigh), Illia Zabarnyi (foot), Adam Smith (groin)

Fulham team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Willian (suspended), Aleksandar Mitrovic (suspended), Layvin Kurzawa (knee), Neeskens Kebano (Achilles). QUESTIONABLE: Shane Duffy (calf)

Manchester City vs Liverpool: How to watch live, stream link, team news


Manchester City host Liverpool in a huge game for both teams as they battle for the title and a top four finish respectively.


Pep Guardiola’s Man City can momentarily cut the gap to leaders Arsenal to five points but there are question marks swirling around the fitness of goalscoring machine Erling Haaland heading into this game. City are looking for a three-peat of Premier League titles and five in the last six seasons, but Arsenal don’t look like they’re going to slip up anytime soon. So City can’t afford to either. They’ve won six in a row in all competitions, scoring 23 and conceding once in that run. We all know they love to kick on at this point of the campaign, so let’s see if they can do it again.

As for Liverpool, well, it has been one step forward and one step back pretty much all season long for Jurgen Klopp’s side. After their 7-0 shellacking of Manchester United, they then lost at Bournemouth to infuriate Klopp and their fans further. The front three of Salah, Nunez and Gakpo are all clicking through the gears nicely but Liverpool have to become more consistent and dominant games in midfield if they’re going to close the gap to the current top four. They’ve had success against City in recent years as their contrasting style of play match up well but this seems like a different, more fragile, Liverpool this season.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

Here’s everything you need for Manchester City vs Liverpool.

How to watch Manchester City vs Liverpool live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 7:30am ET, Saturday
TV Channel: Peacock
Online: Stream via Peacock Premium

Key storylines & in-form players to watch

The fitness of Haaland is obviously a huge concern for City as he suffered a groin issue and did not play for Norway over the international break and returned to Manchester for treatment. If he isn’t fit to start then expect Julian Alvarez to come in. Elsewhere, City are flying with Jack Grealish, Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gunodgan having a big role to play with Phil Foden out following his Appendectomy. As always, Kevin de Bruyne is the main man and will relish this chance to cut Arsenal’s lead atop the table.

Liverpool just can’t find consistency right now. They have improved defensively but they are a real Jekyll and Hyde team. Jurgen Klopp isn’t a fan of that and showed his frustration after their defeat at Bournemouth, which was their last Premier League game and was way back on March 11. He’s had a few weeks to stew over that loss and it will be intriguing to see what plan he has come up with. For this game as earlier this season Liverpool beat Man City 1-0 at Anfield by playing a front four which pinned City in.

Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Erling Haaland (groin) | OUT: Phil Foden (appendix removed)

Liverpool team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Calvin Ramsay (knee), Stefan Bajcetic (groin) | QUESTIONABLE: Luis Diaz (knee), Darwin Nunez (ankle), Kostas Tsimikas (rib), Thiago Alcantara (hip), Joe Gomez (undisclosed)

Premier League winners – Full list of every champion


The Premier League winners are yet to be determined for the 2022-23 season but there is going to be one epic battle to decide who are crowned champions.

With Arsenal leading the way but Manchester City set to hunt them down in the final months of the current campaign, it makes you think back to some of the great teams, and champs, in years gone by.

From Manchester United’s legendary treble winning side to the Leicester City fairytale and Arsenal’s Invincibles, there have been so many amazing title winners over the 30 seasons of the Premier League.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

Below you will find a list of every Premier League winner since the league was formed in 1992-93, with just seven teams being able to call themselves champions since then.

Premier League winners – List of every champion

1992-93: Manchester United
1993-94: Manchester United
1994-95: Blackburn Rovers
1995-96: Manchester United
1996-97: Manchester United
1997-98: Arsenal
1998-99: Manchester United
1999-00: Manchester United
2000-01: Manchester United
2001-02: Arsenal
2002-03: Manchester United
2003-04: Arsenal
2004-05: Chelsea
2005-06: Chelsea
2006-07: Manchester United
2007-08: Manchester United
2008-09: Manchester United
2009-10: Chelsea
2010-11: Manchester United
2011-12: Manchester City
2012-13: Manchester United
2013-14: Manchester City
2014-15: Chelsea
2015-16: Leicester City
2016-17: Chelsea
2017-18: Manchester City
2018-19: Manchester City
2019-20: Liverpool
2020-21: Manchester City
2021-22: Manchester City
2022-23: TBD