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Orlando City tabs Pareja as new coach

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Oscar Pareja is returning to Major League Soccer for a third stint.

The former Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas coach will now be plying his trade for Orlando City SC, leading Nani and Dom Dwyer as the fourth full-time coach in six MLS seasons.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

A longtime Dallas player and assistant, Pareja led the Rapids to the playoffs in 2013 before leaving for the head job at his former club.

FCD won the Supporters’ Shield and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup under his watch before he left for Club Tijuana in 2018, where he went 23W-4D-21L.

Here’s Pareja, via OrlandoCitySC.com:

“The future of this Club is extremely bright, with so many opportunities to grow and succeed at all levels of the Club – from the new training facility to the world-class stadium and from the Development Academy all the way to the MLS side. Orlando is an incredible soccer city, with an especially passionate and dedicated fan base. I can’t wait to get started.”

Pareja should be a huge asset in developing the club’s top young talents into professionals, but he’s got a lot of work to do in building a competitive roster. Orlando finished eight points out of the playoffs in a league in which making the playoffs isn’t that difficult of a proposition.

Red-hot Vardy leads Leicester past Watford

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Leicester City secured a seventh-straight Premier League win to remain in second place in the table, as Jamie Vardy‘s penalty kick and James Maddison‘s late goal beat Watford at the King Power Stadium.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Vardy smacked home a penalty kick in the second half to keep the Foxes fine run going as Brendan Rodgers‘ side remain eight points off league leaders Liverpool, with Maddison putting the seal on a deserved win.

With the win Leicester have 35 points, while Watford remain bottom on eight points.

3 things we learned

1. Jamie Vardy is on fire: He was at it again as he set up Ayoze Perez in the first half, should have won a penalty kick and scored a penalty of his own to win it. Vardy has now scored in seven straight games to take his tally to this season to 13, and Watford were terrified of his runs on the last shoulder of their defense.

2. Watford solid, but unspectacular: Hayden Mullins, the caretaker boss of Watford, set his team up to be solid and they were, but going forward they showed little to suggest they can get themselves out of trouble. Troy Deeney started up top but had little support and Watford can take solace that they held their own at Leicester. They need to do more than that to push themselves off the bottom of the table.

3. Foxes grinding it out: This wasn’t vintage Leicester. Far from it. But just like they did against Everton last time out, they dug deep, kept working and did what they had to do to get all three points. They remain in the title race and although their silky attacking play got them there, dogged defensive displays will keep them there.

Man of the Match: Jamie Vardy – England fans will want him to return to international action and Vardy was a menace all game long. He is a player reborn and aside from his pace and finishing, he continues to create chances for his teammates. A superb overall display.


The Foxes almost took the lead early on as Jamie Vardy was played in down the wing and picked out Ayoze Perez but the Spaniard slid as he slammed over from 12 yards out. The offside flag had gone up but the replays showed Vardy was onside and the goal would have stood if Perez had finished.

Perez then fluffed his lines again soon after as the Spaniard was finding some gaps in the Watford defense.

Harvey Barnes then had a decent chance for Leicester as he was found on the edge of the box but he slammed his effort into the side-netting at the near post.

To their credit Watford dug deep as caretaker boss Hayden Mullins set his team up in a solid defensive unit and Leicester struggled to break them down. The Hornets did become more adventurous as the game wore on and gave a very good account of themselves in the first half.

Barnes was denied by Ben Foster just before the break as the Foxes continued to knock at the door. Vardy then went down in the box and was booked for diving but VAR checked the call and although it looked like Adrian Mariappa caught him, no penalty was awarded.

Leicester continued to push Watford back and had penalty shouts, one of which was given after Adam Masina was adjudged to have fouled Jonny Evans.

VAR was used and the penalty was given as Vardy slotted home to keep his run going of scoring in each of his last seven games, with nine goals in that run, as the Foxes dominated.

Caglar Soyuncu went close and Vardy then dinked over Foster but somehow Watford’s Masina cleared on the line.

Watford pushed for a late equalizer but were then caught by Maddison who sealed the win in style.

Watch Live: Man United v. Spurs, Liverpool v. Everton headlines

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Six Premier League games take place on Wednesday as the midweek madness continues.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ] 

Mourinho takes Tottenham to Man United, Liverpool host Everton in a Merseyside Derby, Norwich travel to Southampton, red-hot Leicester host Watford, Wolves and West Ham do battle and Chelsea host Aston Villa.

[ MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ] 

You can access additional games by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold which also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: “Goal Rush” here ]

For those of you familiar with the Premier League Breakaway Show during busy days (Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Championship Sunday etc.) in the PL, this will follow that model of being similar to the NFL RedZone with action shown from all of the games in the 10 a.m. ET window. More info is available here.

The schedule for the six games on Wednesday is below and you can stream each game live by clicking on the links.


2:30 p.m. ET: Man United v. Tottenham – NBCSN [STREAM]
2:30 p.m. ET: Chelsea v. Aston Villa – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
2:30 p.m. ET: Leicester City v. Watford – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
2:30 p.m. ET: Southampton v. Norwich – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
2:30 p.m. ET: Wolves v. West Ham – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
3:15 p.m. ET: Liverpool v. Everton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

Agents made $650 million from player transfers in 2019

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Looking for a new “get rich quick” scheme? Try becoming an agent for any number of professional footballers, but you better hurry.

[ MORE: Spurs’ Mourinho quotes Mandela in discussing Man United return ]

While it turns out there’s quite a lot of money to be made for representing footballers and facilitating transfers and negotiating contracts, including your own piece of the pie, the well is set to dry up in just over 12 months’ time.

First things first, how much money are we talking about here? More than $650 million in 2019 alone — up nearly 20 percent from 2018 — according to numbers released by FIFA on Wednesday, and that number doesn’t include players who moved between two clubs in the same country, only players who made international transfers. That would be the good news.

[ MORE: Liverpool ready to spend in January ]

Here’s the bad news, for the agents at least: FIFA has approved new guidelines which will cap agent fees at 10 percent of transfer fees and 3 percent of player salaries beginning in 2021. OK, so there’s still decent amount of money to be made in your new career.

The agents and FIFA are at odds over the new rules, which prompted the governing body to release the figures, as if to say, “See? These are the really bad guys ruining your sport.”

Report: Quique Sanchez Flores to be fired by Watford

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Quique Sanchez Flores has managed his final game at Watford and will be fired on Sunday, according to a report from The Athletic.

[ MORE: Mourinho praises “phenomenal” Dele Alli, Spurs supporters ]

Sanchez Flores will reportedly be informed of owner Gino Pozzo’s decision during a meeting at the club’s training ground on Sunday.

Watford currently sits bottom of the Premier League, with only eight points from their first 14 games following a 2-1 defeat to 19th-place Southampton on Saturday — a game the Hornets led after 77 minutes.

[ PL PREVIEW: Arsenal’s post-Emery era begins; Man United host Villa ]

Sanchez Flores was hired by Watford on Sept. 7, replacing fellow Spaniard Javi Gracia following a 0W-1D-3L start to the 2019-20 season. Sanchez Flores’ second stint as Watford boss will have lasted just 85 days and seen him win just one of the 10 games he managed (1W-4D-5L).