Sheffield United finally secure first win of season

0 Comments

Sheffield United – Newcastle was dominated by the home side from the start, and at the 18th attempt the Blades finally secured their first Premier League win of the season.

It is also their first win since July when they beat Chelsea. Relief was etched across the face of everyone connected with the Blades, as new life was breathed into their battle against relegation.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Billy Sharp’s late penalty kick won it for Sheffield United, as Steve Bruce’s Newcastle were woeful throughout and were reduced to 10 men right on half time.

The win moves Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United onto five points for the season, as they are still nine points from safety but have given themselves hope of launching an unlikely survival bid.

WATCH SHEFFIELD UNITED – NEWCASTLE REPLAY


Three things we learned

1. Razor sharp Blades give themselves hope: Let’s get it straight, Sheffield United don’t deserve to be bottom of the table. They have played well in a lot of games this season but have just come up short in key moments. They got the rub of the green against Newcastle and made it count. They earned that luck as they were brave on the ball, made positive runs forward and started the game brightly. Wilder’s boys were snapping into tackles and looked like they are starting to believe they can drag themselves off the bottom of the table. That belief is huge to turning this around.

2. Newcastle their own worst enemies: This negative performance was woeful from Newcastle, and they were their own worst enemies. A red card from Ryan Fraser after two quick-fire silly yellow cards compounded their awful display and Federico Fernandez’s handball summed up a rotten evening. Newcastle’s fans will be calling for Steve Bruce to be fired after this, as they sit eight points above the drop zone but have now failed to win any of their last six games. Pressure is building on Bruce and this Newcastle squad has too much quality to be this far down the table.

3. Sharp must start: Okay, so he should have been sent off late on for an awful tackle on Fabian Schar, but Sharp scored the spot kick, got in a position to win it and was sniffing around the six-yard box. He was only on the pitch for the final 30 minutes. Sharp, 34, must start because Sheffield United whip in balls from out wide and create lots of chances for him to finish off. None of their other forwards possess his ability in and around the box. If they’re going to save themselves from relegation, they have to score more goals. Sharp must start.

Man of the Match: Jayden Bogle – Brilliant display down the right flank from the youngster, as he went close to scoring on several occasions and dug deep defensively. His late back pass was ill-advised, but aside from that he was superb!


The Blades started well and Karl Darlow denied David McGoldrick, who was played in behind after some great interplay but his curled effort was saved.

Newcastle rarely threatened in the first half, as Sheffield United had the majority of the ball. Callum Wilson headed wide from a great position as the Magpies’ forward saw a great chance come and go, while at the other end McGoldrick nodded over.

Federico Fernandez made a superb last-ditch tackle and Darlow made a flying save to deny Jayden Bogle as Sheffield United pushed hard to go ahead.

Right on half time Newcastle were reduced to 10 men, as Fraser received two quick yellow cards and was sent off.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

At the start of the second half Bogle went close after another flowing move from the Blades, as Darlow denied him.

With 20 minutes to go, Sheffield United were given a penalty kick as Fernandez handled the ball as substitute Billy Sharp tried to wriggle away from him in the box.

Sharp slotted home the spot kick to seal all three points for the Blades, as he celebrated in emotional fashion as the boyhood fan scored his 100th league goal for Sheffield United.

Late on Brewster twice went close as he hit the post, as Sheffield United got the win their performance deserved.

Player ratings: USMNT thumps Grenada in Nations League

0 Comments

The USMNT kicked off the 2026 World Cup cycle as the Yanks reconvened (the first team, at least) for the first time since the 2022 tournament in Qatar, in a 7-1 victory Grenada on Friday.

[ MORE: Folarin Balogun to USMNT? “It’s something that will come to me” ]

Who stood out (for better and for worse) as the USMNT thumped Grenada?


USMNT player ratings vs Grenada

GK – Matt Turner: 6 – Faced just three shots on target (0.36 xG), made two saves and watched helplessly as a screamer from outside the box hit the back of the net.

RB – Bryan Reynolds: 6.5 – The USMNT focused the vast majority of its attacking play down the left side of the field, making Reynolds the target of a handful of cross-field switches as he played the full 90 minutes.

CB – Mark McKenzie: 7 – Teamed up with his former center back partner from his Philadelphia Union days, McKenzie was tasked with being the far and away the senior figure and leader of the defense on Friday (his 10 caps were four more than the rest of the back-four combined).

CB – Auston Trusty: 7 – A solid performance in his USMNT debut for the 24-year-old Arsenal defender (on loan to Birmingham City, where he has appeared in 37 games in the Championship thus far). With nearly 70 percent of possession on the night, there aren’t many better opportunities to get your feet wet at the senior international level.

LB – Joe Scally: 7.5 – Do not get overly excited about a 20-year-old’s performance against Grenada. I repeat, do not get overly excited about a 20-year-old’s performance against Grenada. That said, does the USMNT have… two left backs?


DM – Luca de la Torre: 7 – It would be unwise to assign too much value to a game that finished 7-1 against the no. 173-ranked nation in the world, but one thing is for certain and has been proven on a number of occasions: LdlT is a smooth operator as a ball-playing defensive midfielder, and he showed himself quite capable further up the field, in and around the opposing penalty area, on Friday as well.

CM – Weston McKennie: 8 – Two goals (both off of free kicks) for the newly acquired Leeds midfielder, which would be an incredibly welcome development for a side that hasn’t made enough of its set pieces in recent times.

CM – Gio Reyna: 6.5 – This was the solid, if unspectacular, return that Reyna needed after weeks of off-field controversy surround himself, his family and former (but perhaps future) head coach Gregg Berhalter. There were plenty of fireworks elsewhere in the team on Friday, and Reyna managed to come through the game unscathed.


RW – Brenden Aaronson: 7 – It’s been a tough first season in the Premier League for Aaronson, so his first-half goal will hopefully provide a much-needed boost in confidence (his first goal, for club or country, in any competition, since Aug. 21, his third game for Leeds).

CF – Ricardo Pepi: 8 – Aside from scoring the opening goal, Pepi was active and involved in much of what the USMNT tried to do going forward in the first half. Given how deep Grenada sat defensively to begin the game, the Yanks could have taken the easy way out — staying wide and crossing the ball repeatedly — every time down the field, but there appeared to be a concerted effort to combine through the middle of the field, which meant Pepi had to be sharp and quick with his movement to create space for Reyna, Aaronson and Christian Pulisic. Speaking of building confidence, how about the finish for his second goal…

LW – Christian Pulisic: 8 – Ho hum. Just a one-goal, two-assist performance from Pulisic. As previously discussed, the USMNT found infinite joy down the left side of attack and Pulisic was at the center of most of it (for 64 minutes, at least).

Follow @AndyEdMLS

Premier League table, 2022-23 season

1 Comment

If it’s the 2022-23 Premier League table you’re after, you’ve come to the right place.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

After the break for the 2022 World Cup, the Premier League returned with a bang and the start to 2023 has delivered plenty of fun.

Now we are approaching the final few months of the campaign, it is so tight up and down the Premier League table.


Who’s looking like title contenders and/or favorites?

As we head into the final months of the 2022-23 season, Arsenal and Manchester City are looking head and shoulders above the rest and although Manchester United briefly surged into the picture, they look more likely to cement their spot as the third best team in the Premier League.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

The Gunners will have their hands full for the duration of their title challenge, as Erling Haaland continues to take the Premier League by storm with an almost impossible goal-scoring record.


What about the top four and European places?

Uneven Tottenham are hanging in the top four battle and for the moment have hunted down Newcastle, while Liverpool is back in the Champions League picture after their return to form and Chelsea looks like a top six finish is their ceiling. For now.

Surprising Fulham, Brentford, and Brighton are all hanging around on the periphery with fine campaigns. Can one of them surprise and qualify for Europe?


Who are the candidates for relegation?

Southampton, West Ham, and Bournemouth currently occupy the relegation places but that keeps changing all the time and it is so tight at the bottom of the table.

Nottingham Forest, Leicester City, Wolves, Leeds, Everton and Crystal Palace all find themselves within a few points of the bottom three as the race to stay in the Premier League intensifies. This could be the craziest relegation scrap in Premier League history.

Below you will find the latest Premier League table.


Premier League table – March 19

Premier League standings

NBC Sports’ standings and scoreboard



Follow @AndyEdMLS

England vs Ukraine: How to watch live, team news, updates

0 Comments

England host Ukraine in a UEFA EURO 2024 qualifier at Wembley with an extremely emotional atmosphere expected in London.

[ LIVE: EURO 2024 qualifying scores – England vs Ukraine ]

As the war rages on across Ukraine following the Russia invasion just over a year ago, the United Kingdom have been one of Ukraine’s key partners in the fight against Russian forces.

The English Football Association have given away close to 1,000 free tickets to Ukrainians who were forced to flee their country and resettle with families in the UK. Over 4,200 Ukraine fans will be in the away end at Wembley amid a sea of blue and yellow and you can expect plenty of mutual respect and support from fans of both countries towards each other. This match is Ukraine’s first of 2023, as they narrowly missed out on qualifying for the 2022 World Cup after losing to Wales in a playoff last summer.

[ MORE: Full EURO 2024 qualifying schedule, standings ]

England beat Italy 2-1 in Naples on Thursday as Harry Kane became their all-time leading goalscorer with his 54th goal for the Three Lions and they held on after going 2-0 up as Luke Shaw’s red card with 10 minutes to go complicated matters. Gareth Southgate’s young side are developing but will they be able to finally win a major tournament?

They have to qualify for the Euros in Germany next summer first, but a first win away in Italy since 1961 was a great start to this qualifying campaign.

Here’s everything you need for England vs Ukraine.


How to watch England vs Ukraine live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 12pm ET, Sunday (March 26)
Updates: Via NBCSports.com
Stadium: Wembley Stadium, London
TV: FS1


Key storylines, in-form players

The last time this nations met England ran out 4-0 winners in the quarterfinals of EURO 2020. They will be the heavy favorites in this game but Ukraine should not be underestimate as the No. 26 ranked team in the world have the likes of Oleksandr Zinchenko, Mykhailo Mudryk and Vitalii Mykolenko all playing in the Premier League.

England’s forwards ran riot in the first half against Italy with Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka sensational, plus Jude Bellingham’s driving runs from midfield give this Three Lions side an extra dimension. There is more creativity and cutting edge about this England side compared to recent years and it feels like they are ready to win something. There will be a ceremony before this game to honor Harry Kane becoming England’s all-time goalscorer as he passed Wayne Rooney with his goal in Italy on Thursday.


England team news, lineup options

Luke Shaw will be suspended for this game after his red card in Italy, so Kieran Trippier or Ben Chilwell will come in at left back. It is likely Jordan Henderson will come in for Kalvin Phillips in midfield, while Phil Foden could start over Jack Grealish out wide. Reece James and Conor Gallagher could also come into the team as Bellingham limped off towards the end of England’s win against Italy.

Ukraine team news, lineup options

Andriy Yarmolenko (three goals away from equalling Andriy Shevchenko as Ukraine’s all-time leading scorer) has been struggling with a hamstring injury so he may start on the bench, while Bournemouth’s Ilya Zabarnyi and Shakhtar’s Oleksandr Zubkov are both out. Yevhen Konoplyanka and Roman Yaremchuk offer real quality in attack, while Zinchenko is the heartbeat of this Ukraine side.


USMNT kicks off 2026 World Cup cycle with 7-1 win in Grenada

0 Comments

The USMNT scored early and often, as they cruised to a 7-1 victory over Grenada in CONCACAF Nations League action in St. George’s on Friday.

[ MORE: Folarin Balogun to USMNT? “It’s something that will come to me” ]

The victory puts the USMNT (7 points) atop Group D with one game left to play, against El Salvador (5 points – 2nd place) on Monday.

The Yanks got on the board in the 4th minute, and it was a sensational cross from Christian Pulisic which found Ricardo Pepi atop the six-yard box. Pepi used the considerable pace on Pulisic’s cross to head the ball down and out of goalkeeper Jason Belfon’s reach.

Brenden Aaronson made it 2-0 in the 21st minute, as the Leeds attacked received the ball atop the 18-yard box, turned into open space and cut inside before firing a right-footed finish hard and low to the near post.

Weston McKennie made it 3-0 just after the half-hour mark, as he smashed an off-balance, left-footed volley home after his initial header on Pulisic’s free kick was blocked. Two minutes after Myles Hippolyte fired a laser past Matt Turner (a minute later McKennie’s first goal), the recently acquired Leeds midfielder struck again to make it 4-1, applying the final touch after Auston Trusty headed the ball down after another free kick from Pulisic.

[ MORE: Three key questions for USMNT in March ]

The USMNT jumped on Grenada just as quickly when the second half began, with Pulisic putting his name on the scoresheet in the 49th minute. Luca de la Torre found Pulisic cutting in from the left wing, and the ball somehow found its way past Belfon for 5-1.

Four minutes later, De la Torre played a slightly trickier through ball to spring Pepi in behind the Grenadine defense, and Pepi made no mistake with his one-on-one chance against Belfon. Pepi, who is currently on loan to Gronigen from Augsburg, waited for the goalkeeper to go down one way and coolly slotted the ball the other way.

Alejandro Zendejas, who recently elected to represent the USMNT internationally, became cap-tied to the USMNT when he came off the bench in the 64th minute. Eight minutes later, the 25-year-old winger got his first senior international goal.


Start of a new World Cup cycle = a clean slate

For all intents and purposes, the USMNT kicked off the 2026 World Cup cycle on Friday, with the first team reconvening for the first time since the 2022 tournament in Qatar. A new World Cup cycle means brand new opportunities for new players, and a fresh start for those who didn’t get the starts or appearances that they thought they should have.

The net will be cast far and wide as the rest of 2023 sees the USMNT (likely) head to the finals of the Nations League and then the Gold Cup, with a handful of players seemingly coming from out of nowhere to claim consistent call-ups ahead of Copa America 2024 (on U.S. soil once again). There will be even more opportunities than usual for fringe players to make a case, with the Yanks automatically qualifying for the 2026 tournament as hosts.


What’s next?

The USMNT will host El Salvador in a winner-take-all Group D finale on Monday (7:30 pm ET), at Exploria Stadium in Orlando. The group winner will qualify for the finals (four teams) of the 2022-23 CONCACAF Nations League (June 15-18) as well as the 2023 Gold Cup (June 24-July 16); the group runners-up will also qualify for this summer’s Gold Cup.

Follow @AndyEdMLS


How to watch Grenada vs USMNT live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 8pm ET, Friday (March 24)
Stadium: Kirani James Athletic Stadium, St. George’s
TV in English: TNT
TV/streaming en Español: Universo/Peacock

[ LIVE: CONCACAF Nations League scores – Grenada vs USMNT ]


USMNT squad

Goalkeepers (3): Ethan Horvath (Luton Town), Zack Steffen (Middlesbrough), Matt Turner (Arsenal)

Defenders (8): Sergino Dest (AC Milan), Mark McKenzie (Genk), Tim Ream (Fulham), Bryan Reynolds (Westerlo), Antonee Robinson (Fulham), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), Joe Scally (Borussia Monchengladbach), Auston Trusty (Birmingham City)

Midfielders (7): Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United), Johnny Cardoso (Internacional), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo), Weston McKennie (Leeds United), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Alan Sonora (Juarez), Djordje Mihailovic (AZ Alkmaar)

Forwards (6): Taylor Booth (Utrecht), Daryl Dike (West Bromwich Albion), Ricardo Pepi (Groningen), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Alejandro Zendejas (Club America)

EDIT: Tim Weah (Lille) was originally called up, but exited due to a head injury.

Follow @AndyEdMLS