Two hopes of the USMNT’s future — one more immediate than the other — squared off in the International Champions Cup on Saturday.
Paris Saint-Germain teenager Timothy Weah, 18, went 90 minutes and scored his side’s only goal in the 3-1 loss in Austria.
[ MORE: Neymar on diving ]
On the other side of the field was 62nd minute substitute Chris Richards, far less known to the American supporter.
Richards is on loan from FC Dallas, where he’s a Homegrown Player. The 18-year-old center back is going to play for Bayern’s U-19 side following a successful trial in April.
Both Bayern and PSG were without key pieces, as Weah went up against a decent Bayern back line of Juan Bernat, Javi Martinez, Josip Stanisic, and Rafinha.
Arjen Robben, Sandro Wagner, and Franck Ribery were the biggest names in Bayern’s XI, while David Alaba, Kingsley Coman, and Serge Gnabry came off the bench.
For PSG, Gianluigi Buffon started as did Adrien Rabiot.
Weah’s goal is below, and here’s what he had to say about it:
“It’s an amazing feeling and getting a well-done job. Me scoring goals, I was really happy to get my first goal for PSG and first goal in this competition. We’re going to Singapore with our head on our shoulders. We’re going to be really humble and keep playing.”
N'Golo Kante might just be the best midfielder in the world, and he might just be leaving Chelsea for Paris Saint-Germain in the coming days or weeks, as French newspaper Le Parisien has reported that the defending Ligue 1 champions are in “advanced negotiations” over a mega-bucks contract with the World Cup winner.
[ MORE: Neymar says he’s staying at PSG; rumors “invented by the press” ]
The report goes so far as to say that a “provisional contract” has already been agreed. “Provisional,” in this instance, means there has likely been little — if any — contact between the two clubs thus far.
One major sticking point remains: following last summer’s outlandish spending spree, in which they shelled out nearly $500 million to sign Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, PSG are in serious danger of failing to comply with financial regulations set forth by UEFA and could/would be banned from European competition should they fail to achieve compliance.
The likes of Angel Di Maria, Goncalo Guedes, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Jese Rodriguez and Alphonse Areola have had their names floated as possible departures to recoup the necessary funds before paying another fee of (presumably) over $100 million.
[ MORE: Conte to sue Chelsea over how firing was handled ]
After helping the Blues to the Premier League title two seasons ago (and doing the same with Leicester City three campaigns gone by), Kante was powerless in saving Chelsea from themselves in 2017-18. They finished fifth in the PL and failed to qualify for this season’s Champions League.
Given his age — 27 — it’s wholly understandable that Kante would prioritize playing in club soccer’s top competition (while also making even more money) every season going forward. Throw in the fact that uncertainty is the only certainty at Stamford Bridge these days, and trading west London for Paris — where Kante was born — starts to sounds pretty good, pretty quickly.
The 2018 World Cup is complete, which means we now fully turn our attention back to the club game, which means it’s time for (an abbreviated) transfer season to begin…
[ VIDEO: What do Liverpool, Spurs need this summer? ]
With Cristiano Ronaldo out of the way — and the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and/or Eden Hazard signed to replace him (yet) — Gareth Bale is expected to remain at Real Madrid and fill the “main man” void left by Ronaldo’s move for Juventus. The 29-year-old Welshman will meet with new Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui prior to the start of preseason friendlies in the United States. Bale has repeatedly been linked with a move to Premier League side Manchester United.
However, given Bale’s troubling history of injuries since moving to Madrid in the summer of 2013, it would be unwise — and unlikely — that Florentino Perez doesn’t make at least one massive signing this summer to replace Ronaldo’s otherworldly production. It makes all the sense in the world on the field, and fits Perez’s m.o., off of it.
[ MORE: Hazard hints at Chelsea exit, has “preferred destination” in mind ]
The next month could see the Chelsea squad undergo a total and complete rebuild, and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, one of the breakout stars of the 2018 World Cup for Serbia, is said to top the wishlist of owner Roman Abramovich and new manager Maurizio Sarri. Man United have also been heavily linked with Milinkovic-Savic, dating back to pre-World Cup rumors.
The 23-year-old box-to-box dynamo will likely cost the Blues well over $100 million — if Lazio get their way — but in return they’ll be getting a player who, alongside N'Golo Kante, will re-establish Chelsea as one of the best midfields in club soccer, and arguably the toughest to play against.
- Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Mousa Dembele has reportedly rejected a potential move to Inter Milan
- Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said that forward Daniel Sturridge could still have a future at Anfield
- West Ham United forward Andy Carroll has reportedly been offered, on loan, to Turkish side Besiktas
- Crystal Palace and Bournemouth are reportedly both working toward signing forward Ollie Watkins from Championship side Brentford
- Everton and Bournemouth are reportedly expected to make bids for Genoa and Uruguay defender Diego Laxalt
There was entertainment value in Los Angeles FC’s potential playoff preview with the Portland Timbers on Sunday in the City of Angels, but all that arrived was a scoreless draw.
[ MORE: Atlanta 1-1 Seattle ]
Both Giovani Savarese’s Timbers and Bob Bradley‘s nickname-free expansion club remain in the West’s Top Four. PLAFC remains unbeaten at home during their maiden voyage through Major League Soccer.
Adama Diomande came close for the hosts, who finished with 10-men when Lee Nguyen went studs-up on Sebastian Blanco‘s thigh for a pretty easy red card (though it took some time for Silviu Petrescu to produce the red).
Belgium topped England, 2-0, in Saturday’s third-place match in Saint Petersburg behind goals from Thomas Meunier and Eden Hazard.
[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]
The finish for Belgium marks their best-ever performance at a World Cup, after having previously finished fourth in 1986.
It took just four minutes for the Red Devils to go out in front, and a quick attack led by Romelu Lukaku guided Roberto Martinez’s side into the lead.
The Manchester United striker picked out a brilliant through ball to Nacer Chadli down the wing, before playing in a timely cross to Meunier, who slid in for the finish past England keeper Jordan Pickford.
Eden Hazard capped off the victory for the Belgians with a near-post strike in the 83rd minute to ensure his side’s third-place finish.
The early finish brought a bit of life out of the Three Lions, who began to create a number of quality chances of their own.
Harry Kane nearly equalized in the 23rd minute when Raheem Sterling picked out the Tottenham striker, however, his shot missed just wide of the goal.
The Three Lions had their best chance of the match with 20 minutes remaining in the match as Eric Dier found himself in on goal, but his chip past Thibaut Courtois was cleared off the line by Spurs teammate Toby Alderweireld.