Thursday Kickoff: Chelsea lose Costa for Man United clash; Pogba extension imminent; and more

Chelsea will almost certainly be without star forward Diego Costa because of a new groin injury, leaving Jose Mourinho with another injury problem to deal with.

USMNTStartingXI1-Ecuador2014 (USATodaySports)

USMNT fall six places to No. 23 in latest FIFA rankings

Due to qualification matches elsewhere in the world and a pair of 1-1 draws in October, the USMNT fell six places to No. 23 in the latest FIFA World Rankings.

Late Red Bulls equalizer deprives Impact top CCL seed with draw

The New York Red Bulls spoiled a perfect group run for the Montreal Impact, equalizing late to draw.

Thursday Kickoff: Chelsea lose Costa for Man United clash; Pogba extension imminent; and more

DiegoCostaChelsea1-Arsenal2014 (Getty)


Chelsea will likely be without their top scorer on Sunday when they face Manchester United.

Diego Costa is on the verge of being ruled out of the highly-anticipated matchup in Old Trafford with a groin injury, adding to his already long-term hamstring injury that he’s struggled to overcome. In addition, Costa was briefly hospitalized last week with a severe “stomach bug,” and hasn’t trained regularly since then.

The 26-year-old has scored nine goals in seven English Premier League games this season, but he has missed Chelsea’s last two games, at Crystal Palace and against Maribor in the UEFA Champions League with injury.

The most recent groin problem has reportedly left manager Jose Mourinho fuming, because he feels Costa was misused while on international duty with Spain.

Without Costa, Chelsea will likely go with either Didier Drogba, who is dealing with match fitness issues, or Andre Schurrle, who is coming back from flu-like symptoms. Loic Remy is unlikely to play after departing early in Chelsea’s 7-1 thrashing of Maribor with a groin injury.

Here are some more stories to kick off your Thursday:

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USMNT fall six places to No. 23 in latest FIFA rankings

USMNTStartingXI1-Ecuador2014 (USATodaySports)

Photo by Dylan Butler II/USA TODAY Sports


The U.S. Men’s National Team woke up this morning outside of the top 20 ranked teams in the world.

FIFA released their latest world rankings on Thursday as the USMNT fell six places to No. 23, following a pair of 1-1 draws to Ecuador and Honduras in October. The U.S. now sit one place behind the Czech Republic and one place ahead of the Czech’s neighbors, Slovakia. The last time the U.S. was ranked outside the top 20 in the world was in July 2013.

Much of the reason for the precipitous fall has to do with the fact that other nations are currently playing qualifying matches, either for Euro 2016, the 2015 African Cup of Nations, or the 2015 Gold Cup. In CONCACAF, the U.S. remain behind top ranked Costa Rica, who are ranked 16th in the world, and Mexico, who are 17th. Trinidad and Tobago, who are now the fourth-best ranked team in CONCACAF, jumped 37 places to No. 49 following three wins in October.

There was plenty of movement in the world top ten as well. Germany, Argentina, and Colombia remain the top three ranked teams, in that order, but Belgium jumped over the Netherlands into fourth place, with the Dutch following in fifth. Brazil checks in at sixth place, France moved up two places to seventh, Uruguay fell one spot to eighth, and Portugal moved up to ninth in front of tenth place Spain.


What do you think of this development? Worried about the USMNT’s fall? Think they can move back up with wins over Colombia and Ireland next month?

Share your thoughts below.

Posted in Featured, FIFA, U.S. Men's National Team | 2 Comments

Late Red Bulls equalizer deprives Impact top CCL seed with draw

Impact vs Red Bulls by Jim OConnor USA TODAY
Photo by Jim O’Connor/USA TODAY Sports


The New York Red Bulls weren’t playing for much Wednesday. After all, they had already been eliminated from the CONCACAF Champions League. And so, they fielded a young, inexperienced side against Montreal Impact’s veterans.

But the Red Bulls bowed out holding onto some dignity at home as they spoiled the Impact’s hopes for perfection, equalizing late for a 1-1 draw to finish group play.

The Red Bulls’ Connor Lade, who has been on loan with the New York Cosmos since July, scored the equalizer and ruined the party for the Impact, who were looking to secure an all-important top-four seed with a win.

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Posted in CONCACAF Champions League, Featured, MLS- New York Red Bulls | 3 Comments

UCL Rewind: Real Madrid overwhelm Liverpool; Najar goal not enough against Arsenal; and more



In the club’s toughest Champions League test in five years, Liverpool were issued a swift lesson on just how hard it is to match up with the world’s best.

Karim Benzema scored a pair of first-half goals to lead Real Madrid to a 3-0 victory over Liverpool on Wednesday at Anfield. Benzema’s finishes were preceded by a 23rd minute goal from Cristiano Ronaldo, whose goal was the Portuguese star’s 70th of his Champions League career, leaving Ronaldo just one goal behind Real Madrid legend and recent New York Cosmos signing Raul for the all-time mark.

Arsenal also emerged from Wednesday’s action victorious, albeit in much more stressful fashion, due to a 2-1 victory over Belgium’s Anderlecht due to late goals from Keiran Gibbs and Lukas Podolski. Anderlecht opened the scoring through former D.C. United winger Andy Najar before Arsenal snatched the three points via Gibbs’ and Podolski’s finishes in the 89th and 91st minutes, respectively.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid swarmed Sweden’s Malmo FF, 5-0, and Olympiakos stunned Juventus with a 1-0 victory.

Check out the rest of Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League scores below:

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Posted in European Soccer | 3 Comments

MLS Ticker: Galaxy sign DeLaGarza to multi-year contract; Parkhurst survives injury scare; and more

AJDeLaGarzaLAGalaxy1-FCDallas2014MLS (USATODAYSports)

Photo by Tim Heltman/USA TODAY Sports


On the verge of making a deep playoff run, the LA Galaxy have locked down one of their top defenders to a long-term deal.

The Galaxy announced on Wednesday that they’ve signed A.J. DeLaGarza to a new multi-year contract, the third new contract he’s signed with the club since being drafted in 2009.

“We’re thrilled to sign A.J. to a multi-year contract,” LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “He is one of the most versatile defenders in MLS and has been an important part of our organization’s success both on and off the field over the past six years. We look forward to A.J.’s continued leadership as an LA Galaxy member.”

Since joining the Galaxy, DeLaGarza has made 155 appearances and 150 starts, the most of any defender selected in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. This season, DeLaGarza has dished out two assists in 28 games, with 27 starts.

Here are some more stories from around MLS:

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Posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Columbus Crew, MLS- New England Revolution, MLS- Orlando City | 2 Comments

U.S. Soccer confirms Nov. 14 friendly with Colombia

Soccer: Friendly-USA vs Honduras

Photo by Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports


It appears that U.S. Soccer has no problem working on the fly.

U.S. Soccer confirmed Wednesday that World Cup quarterfinalist Colombia will take on the U.S. Men’s National Team in a friendly at Craven Cottage on Nov. 14. The U.S. opponent originally considered for the game at the London venue was Croatia, but plans for that proposed match fell through before an official deal could be finalized.

The November friendly will mark the first time the U.S. plays Colombia since 2010. The Americans hosted the South American nation at PPL Park in Philadelphia back in October of that year, with the exhibition ending in a scoreless draw.

“Colombia showed in the World Cup that they are one of the top teams in the world,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “They have some tremendous attacking talent like Radamel Falcao at Manchester United, James Rodriguez who won the Golden Boot at the World Cup and now plays at Real Madrid, Arian Ramos from Dortmund who was one of the top scorers in the Bundesliga, and Carlos Bacca who won the Europa League with Sevilla. Continue reading »

Posted in Featured, International Soccer, South American Soccer, U.S. Men's National Team | 38 Comments