Michael Regan/Getty Images

Sources: John Terry being pursued by several MLS sides

1 Comment

A veteran Englishman could be on his way stateside following last season’s disappointing finish in the English Championship.

[ MORE: Rooney, Audi Field debut as DC United win ]

John Terry was a member of the 2017/18 Aston Villa squad that nearly rose to the Premier League, however, the team’s efforts were cut short in their promotion playoff final against Fulham.

Multiple league sources have told Pro Soccer Talk that several Major League Soccer teams have expressed interest in Terry, who is currently out of a contract.

Meanwhile, PST has also learned that Terry is being pursued by several upper-level English Championship and Scottish clubs.

The 37-year-old played 19 seasons with PL giants Chelsea, before making the move to Aston Villa last year.

Terry appeared in 32 league matches for the Villans, who are now in the midst of a financial rut after their failure to complete promotion to England’s top flight.

Derby County has been widely seen as one of the Championship sides interested in bringing Terry aboard due to the central defender’s relationship with new club manager and former Chelsea teammate Frank Lampard, however, no deal has materialized to this point.

USMNT back Lichaj finds new home in Championship

@HullCity
Leave a comment

Eric Lichaj is going to bring his Premier League promotion dreams to a new Championship club.

The 29-year-old USMNT fullback has been a key part of Nottingham Forest to the tune of 188 appearances since moving from Aston Villa in 2013.

[ MORE: Sampaoli defends Messi ]

But he’s on the move, joining Nigel Adkins at Hull City on the heels of a three-goal season at Forest. He famously scored a pair of goals in a 4-2 FA Cup win over Arsenal, then naming his new dog Gunner.

“It’s a fresh start for me and I want to repay Hull City for the faith that they have shown in me by bringing me here. I’ll be working my hardest, as I always do, every day in training and on matchdays.”

The versatile American can play left or right back, and has pushed his way back into the national team picture. Lichaj has 15 caps with a goal for the USMNT.

Also, #AStarInStripes? We see you, Hull

Venting and lamenting the USMNT’s World Cup absence

Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images
4 Comments

Maybe it’s the fact that the night’s already surreal, with the American and North Korean leaders holding a historic meeting and the common bond being a 57-year-old nicknamed “The Worm” who is known for being an excellent rebounder and starring in a movie with Jean-Claude Van Damme, but the dawn of this summer’s World Cup feels exceptionally dreamlike.

Let’s get some things out of the way: Even with the United States men’s national team failing to make the tournament, I’m still very excited about the World Cup. I’m leaning toward hitching my wagon to Serbia’s dark horse status, but also want to be four years’ worth of correct when it comes to Germany.

I’ve also learned you can navigate the sports version of the grieving process — acceptance is tough, but the hope part is easier — and still ride pretty high on the anger and frustration part of it all.

[ MORE: Sporting Lisbon drama increases ]

Anything can happen in a World Cup. We saw that with the USMNT escaping its Group of Death in 2014 and Costa Rica doing the same, but I can’t help look at this tournament as a chance lost for both CONCACAF and the U.S.

This is subjective, and please feel free to disagree, but the domestic buzz feels minimal compared to a tournament with the United States in the field. In terms of the average sports fan, you can scream Messi or Ronaldo all you want, but the tournament is being sold here like an El Clasico with flags.

We’ve reached the point in the World Cup cycle where I worry how many kids, both fans and players, in that pivotal age bracket of 8-12 are going to potentially miss out on their formative Dos A Cero in Jeonju, or Landon Donovan versus Algeria moment.

The beauty of being a sports fan is the images and characters created by your team or nation on the biggest stages.

For Americans of my generation, we’ve seen our country in every World Cup since we were in grade school. Even tournaments where the USMNT didn’t really ring a bell, like 1994, the World Cup drew us into side stories. I remember sitting in my Uncle Jim’s living room, hoping against hope that Italy would top Brazil, and being fairly bummed when Roberto Baggio sent his effort over the bar

I also often feel compelled to point out that Baggio was the third Italian to miss, and that Italy goes out in the Round of 16 if he doesn’t equalize in the 88th minute and complete his brace against Nigeria in extra time, then scoring the winner against Spain in the quarters, and both goals against Bulgaria in the semis.

And here’s the thing: I barely cared about soccer in 1994. I didn’t start playing until high school, and didn’t fall in love with the USMNT program until qualifying for the 2002 tournament.

There’s a vivid American memory from every World Cup after ’94 for me, often in the form of a question.

1998: “Did we really just lose to Iran?”

2002: “How did the ref miss that %^&%^& handball on Frings?”

2006: “Brian McBride is really bloody”

2010: “AND DONOVAN’S SCORED, OH CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS?”

2014:

2018 is gonna be anger and disbelief, a generation deprived of its World Cup from perhaps the easiest qualification format by a defiant coach, his haughty replacement, and a group of players who showed enough effort to get the job done on average once every other game.

Frankly, this probably sounds absurd to some European and South American nations considering some of the World Cup droughts, some still active. Ryan Giggs never played in one. Alfredo Di Stefano, George Weah, and Ian Rush were shut out. Even in the expanded format, current big names like Darren Fletcher, Arda Turan, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Christian Pulisic missed his first World Cup? Boo-hoo, say Austria and Wales. David Alaba will be 28 the next time he gets to attempt qualification for his first. Gareth Bale will be 31 and Aaron Ramsey 30.

Robbie Keane got one World Cup. Marcus Hahnemann went to two.

So, yeah, American soccer fans have had it pretty good. I don’t want this to read like, “my tap water in Western New York could be better” when in reality I’d welcome a full-time job of delivering fresh water to the half-globe or more where it is needed by real, true human beings (including Michigan). Rooting for Serbia because the U.S. or Wakanda didn’t qualify is an acceptable enough outcome.

The 2026 World Cup could be coming back to the United States for the second time in 32 years despite this country still just figuring out the sport’s allure. We’re fortunate in so many ways. And, frankly, there’s a very good argument to be made that the country’s federation could use the second swift kick that would come from failing to make a World Cup then blowing a World Cup hosting bid despite overwhelming stores of influence and money.

But for now, all I can think about is what we won’t have this weekend. Very few, if any, city blocks shut down for outdoor viewing party. A similar amount of beer-soaked phone videos of bar celebrations. No John Brooks canceling out Andre Ayew’s late equalizer. No Jermaine Jones rocket against Portugal. Not even a hope-giving moment from substitute Julian Green versus Belgium (Silly dual nationals).

Don’t forget: Some said dual nationals like John Brooks didn’t “care” enough (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images).

No first World Cup for Pulisic. Maybe no World Cup ever for Eric Lichaj, Bobby Wood, Tim Ream, Danny Williams, and Darlington Nagbe.

I mean, shoot, at least when the USWNT took its step back it was just a missed medal at the Olympics, not an entire month of sadness.

The whys are myriad: A national program that got high on its own FIFA rankings supply. A divide between proponents of players playing at the highest level and those who refused to push players there because of the money it made them or their domestic clubs. No one knows if Matt Besler would’ve become the best defender in USMNT history with a move to West Ham — and we do love him for his one-club heart — but there sure is some “What if?” there.

But it’s not about the whys here. It’s about the “What ifs?”

What if the U.S. was drawn in Panama’s place, needing to get past Belgium or England, let alone Tunisia, to make another knockout round? I’m genuinely happy for Panama, even with their ghost goal being the difference, but CONCACAF would likely rather see the Yanks’ buttressing their World Cup host bid with Pulisic as poster boy.

What if the U.S. was drawn in Mexico’s place, a veritable Group of Death for Arena and his proponents to measure himself against Klinsmann and his?

Or what about Costa Rica’s spot, with Neymar’s Brazil joining underachieving Switzerland and dark horse Serbia on the docket?

What if that kid who’s choosing whether to dedicate himself to high school football, basketball, lacrosse, or soccer, doesn’t bother to get misty-eyed for the red, white, and blue because he’s going to opt to go to the Orioles because Croatia-Argentina doesn’t have any significance to him?

$%^$.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Arsenal target Torreira; Evans signs for Leicester, and more

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ahead of the World Cup, Arsenal is getting in touch with a potential breakout star.

According to multiple reports in Italy, Arsenal has begun negotiations to sign Sampdoria’s Uruguayan holding midfielder Lucas Torreira. The 22-year-old started all but two Serie A games for Sampdoria last season, his second season at the club, and it was also his breakthrough into the Uruguayan National Team, where his performances earned him a place in the World Cup squad.

[LATEST: 2018 World Cup news]

The reports state that Torreira comes with a nearly $30 million release clause and that Napoli are in the driver’s seat to sign him, but it all depends on Manchester City’s protracted negotiations for Napoli midfielder Jorginho. Arsenal coach Unai Emery has been reportedly looking at a number of new signings across Europe, especially at defensive midfield, which is where Torreira would slot in.

Here are some more transfer news and notes from across the Premier League and Europe:

(more…)

USMNT throw away HT lead, lose 2-1 to Ireland

Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images
1 Comment

Following a 3-0 victory over Bolivia on Monday, the U.S. men’s national team experienced a massive step up in opposition Saturday at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, and suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Ireland.

[ MORE: England top Nigeria on goals scored by Kane, Cahill ]

Bobby Wood put the USMNT ahead just before halftime, John O'Shea said goodbye after making his 118th and final appearance for his country, Graham Burke equalized just before the hour mark, and Alan Judge scored the deserved winner in the 90th minute.

Interim head coach Dave Sarachin’s side was fortunate to lead at the intermission, as the Irish were in full control from the opening whistle. From the attacking trio of Bobby Wood, Timothy Weah and Rubio Rubin, to the disorganized state of young center backs Matt Miazga and Cameron Carter-Vickers, positives were few and far between.

The Yanks’ miserable first half ended on the highest possible note, as Wood ended his own miserable 2017-18 campaign (two goals in 24 Bundesliga appearances for Hamburg, who were relegated) with a stoppage-time goal completely against the run of play. Wil Trapp floated a free kick into the box, Matt Miazga headed the ball back across the face of goal and Wood tapped it home with goalkeeper Colin Doyle rooted to his goal line.

The lead lasted less than 15 minutes into the second half, though, as Bill Hamid ran himself into a wall of bodies with a cross coming into the box from the left flank. When the 27-year-old Midtjylland ‘keeper got nowhere near claiming the ball, it fell to the top of the six-yard box, where it was hammered home for 1-1, credited to Burke for his deflection on the goal line.

Just 10 minutes later, the Boys in Green had the ball in the back of Hamid’s net once again, but Darragh Lenihan, who fired the ball goal-bound for Ireland’s equalizer, saw his headed goal wiped away when the assistant referee flagged the Blackburn Rovers center back offside.

From bad to worse in the game’s final moments, Miazga was roasted by James McClean and Judge fired past Hamid, off the underside of the crossbar, to complete the comeback.