Everyone is ready for Spain’s top flight to start a new season tomorrow, with the exception of Barcelona’s new signings.
La Liga, the Spanish league that has won 34 out of the last 67 European titles, will begin again this weekend, with Real Madrid looking to defend their crown.
That’s fantastic news for USMNT fans, who can watch three US players battle it out in one of the top leagues in the world.
These are the top USMNT stars to watch out for while enjoying La Liga’s kick-off weekend.
Sergiño Dest – Defender – Barcelona
Though he hasn’t been getting much playing time under Xavi, Barcelona might literally have no one else to put on the field since they still haven’t registered their two new defenders with La Liga yet.
Barca opens at home on Saturday against Rayo Vallecano, the other, other, other team from Madrid.
Luca de la Torre – Midfielder – Celta Vigo
This will be the midfielder’s first venture into La Liga after spending time in the Eredivisie and in the EFL Championship with Fulham.
Celta Vigo opens the season at home on Saturday against RCD Espanyol, the other Barcelona team.
Yunus Musah – Midfielder – Valencia
Musah, who is still only 19, is beginning his second season with the Valencia first team, which is pretty damn impressive. (He’s also the youngest non-Spanish player to score for the club.) With Portuguese attacker Guedes heading to Wolves, expect Musah to continue growing into a regular for the Bats.
Valencia will kick-off their campaign on Sunday against the recently-promoted Girona.
*Note – Serie A also kicks off this weekend, but at time of writing, Weston McKennie, the only USMNT player in Italy’s top league, is out till next month with a shoulder injury.
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USMNT fans can dream all we want to (thanks for the permission, we will), but high hopes won’t bring the Stars and Stripes any closer to a World Cup victory.
Soccer YouTuber Zealand recently ran a World Cup simulation 100 times on Football Manager and visited the boys over at Tifo Football to reveal the results.
The hilarious quiz-style guessing segment that ensued can be seen below – it may be 15 minutes, but it’s definitely worth a laugh.
Here’s what Zealand and Tifo Football learned from the experiment:
The USMNT made the World Cup 2022 final multiple times, though they never won it.
The US performed fairly well across the simulations, averaging second-place in group B with slightly over 4 points per sim.
Saudi Arabia was the worst team on average.
Followed closely by the host country, Qatar.
Once qualified, Germany won the World Cup nearly 20% of the time.
The Germans have always been a force to be reckoned with, and Football Manager expects this year to be no different.
Spain, France, Argentina, and Brazil won between 12-18% of the World Cup simulations.
These squads are considered by most to be heavy contenders for the World Cup 22, so this should come as no surprise.
Football Manager predicts England, Uruguay, and Portugal all have a real shot.
One of these three teams won about 7% of the simulations. In real life, all three teams have incredible star power, and anyone could be a dark horse in Qatar.
What do you think of the simulation? Does the USMNT have a better chance than they’re given credit for? Sound off below!
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Many USMNT fans are learning there’s a new team to watch out for in the Premier League.
This season, Leeds United prominently features two American midfield stars – the locomotive Tyler Adams and explosive Brenden Aaronson.
And, as the Red, White, and Blue icing on the American cake, Leeds is also coached by an colonist, the fiery Jesse Marsch.
The sudden improvement of a Premier League team featuring so many Statesiders is leaving many USMNT fans to wonder – is Leeds United America’s Team? And if they are (they are), how did we get here?
Jesse Marsch got his first big shot in the Red Bull soccer system.
Jesse Marsch became head coach of the MLS’s New York Red Bulls in 2015, winning the MLS Supporter Shield and Coach of the Year on his first try with a team starring young Tyler Adams.
The NY Red Bulls are one of a few teams owned by the energy-drink maker, who also own Austrian club RB Salzburg and German club RB Leipzig.
Doing well in the Big Apple meant moving up in the Red Bull system, so Marsch joined RB Leipzig as an assistant in 2018. He then became head coach of RB Salzburg in 2019 and coached Brenden Aaronson in 2020. In 2021, Marsch returned to the Bundesliga as head coach of RB Leipzig, reuniting with Tyler Adams. When Leeds United hired Marsch in February of this year, he became only the third American to coach in the Premier League. Leeds was on the verge of relegation, but Marsch saved them, helping them finish 17th in the table last season.
During the summer transfer window, Marsch got to work on bringing more Americans into the ilk. He started with the energetic and speedy Brenden Aaronson.
Where did Medford Messi come from, and are we all okay with calling him that?
Aaronson broke onto the scene in 2019 when he finished runner-up for MLS Rookie of the Year with the Philadelphia Union. After an even better 2020 season, Aaronson was set for a move to Europe.
The then 21-year-old transferred to RB Salzburg, coached by Jesse Marsch. Aaronson began scoring goals quickly and often, finding the back of the net in Salzburg’s Austrian Cup victory. Later that same month, he was picked up by Leeds United. After a stunning first game in the Premier League against the Wolves, Aaronson may already be a Leeds Legend.
But let’s not forget about Tyler Adams just yet…
Midfielder Tyler Adams played in that Leeds United opener against Wolves, too, and played the full 90 minutes. Though BA7 is grabbing all the headlines, Adams has more international and European club experience.
Like Marsch, Adams got his break in the New York Red Bulls system. He joined Marsch at RB Leipzig in 2019, immediately helping the Bundesliga club defeat Tottenham and Atletico Madrid in the Champions League to reach the UCL semis for the first time in team history. Adams is a workhorse known for being everything, everywhere, all at once.
Adam’s high-energy style of play fit perfectly in the Bundesliga, and Jesse Marsch knew he had to have him when he left for Leeds United and the Premier League.
In conclusion, America’s Team, brought to you by Red Bull, has been a long time coming.
These Americans have been playing together for years, and now they’re winning the highest levels of the sport.
(There’s a ‘Red Bull gives you wings’ pun somewhere to be had here, but I think you get the point.)
If you’re a USMNT fan and you’re not watching Leeds United, maybe it’s time to start.
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On Wednesday, Champions League and La Liga champions Real Madrid downed Europa League champions Frankfurt 2-0 for their fifth UEFA Super Cup trophy.
The win shouldn’t come as a shock considering the form of the two clubs as of late – Eintracht Frankfurt was thrashed 6-1 last week in their Bundesliga opener against Bayern Munich, and Real Madrid is Real Madrid.
Per Squawka News, Karim Benzema reached a major milestone when he scored in the 65th minute, becoming second all-time in scoring (323) for Los Blancos after Cristiano Ronaldo (450!). RM head coach Ancelotti reached some milestones of his own.
Carlo Ancelotti, the first manager to win four UEFA Super Cup finals, thinks Benzema deserves soccer’s highest individual prize: the Ballon d’Or.
“[Benzema] is a leader. If we’re here, it’s partly because of him. He scored a lot of goals. Now for the Ballon d’Or… Are there any doubts? I don’t think anyone has doubts about that.”
After a rough year for Ronaldo and Messi, there seems little doubt that Benzema can take home the hardware.
Benzema scored a combined 42 goals between La Liga and Champions League last season, undeniably instrumental in Madrid improbably winning their eighth UCL title.
After Sunday’s victory, the European Champs have five Super Cup wins, tied with AC Milan and Barcelona.
The Europa League champion, which is somewhat parallel to the NIT Champion in college basketball, has won the UEFA Super Cup against the Champions League champions eight times since 2000.
Come Saturday, Real Madrid will open their La Liga season against the recently promoted Almeria, while Frankfurt will look to bounce back against Hertha.
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As La Liga’s kick-off draws near, the stakes surrounding Barcelona’s new unregistered signings grow higher.
ESPN reports that two of Barca’s summer signings, defenders Francke Kessie and Andreas Christensen, could leave the club for free if they are still unregistered with La Liga come Saturday.
Because Kessie and Christensen moved to FCB on free transfers, they have a clause they could activate if they aren’t registered for La Liga before the first match on Saturday against Rayo Vallecano that would allow them to join another club for free.
Even as FCB President Joan Laporta prepares to sell another 24.5% of Barca Studios, stars Lewandowski, Jules Kounde, Raphinha, Sergi Roberto, and Ousmane Dembele (in addition to Kessie and Christensen) are still not registered to play in La Liga and therefore, as of writing, would not appear in Saturday’s match.
However, such a move from the two defenders would be unusual and extreme. Barcelona technically has till the end of the month to sign the players, and both stars knew what they were getting into when they signed with Barca. (Players play for Barca to play for Barca – who cares if they have to miss the first game?)
Meanwhile, in the Premier League…
Barcelona’s continued struggles could spell a solution for Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea. Rumors are swirling that the German coach is open to listening to offers for Hakim Ziyech and USMNT star Christian Pulisic after Timo Werner’s return to the Bundesliga earlier this week. Captain America is reportedly frustrated with his minutes at the club.
If Ziyech and Pulisic leave the Blues, Tuchel will be left with an aging Raheem Sterling as one of his main strikers aiding young stars like Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, and Conor Gallagher. Tuchel will want to change that, possibly by adding Barcelona’s Pierre Aubameyang and/or Frenkie de Jong. Transfer gatekeeper Fabrizio Romano reports Tuchel is, in fact, pushing for Aubameyang, who he has a good relationship with because of their history at Borussia Dortmund.
Barca could be looking to offload both players to create more salary cap space for the above-mentioned new signings.
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Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara will be out for club and country for about six weeks with a hamstring injury.
The Liverpool central midfielder, noted for having a Tempurpedic-like touch, tweaked his hammie in the second half of the Reds’ 2-2 opening draw against the newly-promoted Fulham.
ESPN reports the timing couldn’t be worse for LFC, who has two other midfielders currently out with injury. Klopp says they still have five other midfielders, so any transfer to replace the ailing Thiago would have to make sense both now and later.
(To be certain, Liverpool still has Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Harvey Elliott, James Milner, Fabio Carvalho, and potentially Naby Keita available.)
Based on the current timeline, Thiago could be back to face Chelsea in the latter half of September.
For fans unfamiliar with the Spanish midfielder, Thiago can be an absolute joy to watch. He has pinpoint, powerful, crisp, creative, and accurate passes, plus an incredibly soft first touch to accompany his extremely peripheral field vision. Liverpool will surely miss him – check out his highlights below.
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Just because these players aren’t in the Premier League doesn’t mean they aren’t producing premier highlights.
In the EFL Championship, recently relegated Watford had a midfield stunner against West Bromwich.
Striker Ismaila Sarr hadn’t scored for his club since last season when he netted one against Manchester United in November.
Further down the totem pole, Boreham Wood FC, a 5th-tier team (I don’t think that’s considered pro anymore), got a top-tier save from their goalkeeper.
The shot itself was a beaut, but the one-palm save is the stuff of legends. Someone should check the keeper’s glove for Elmer’s.
Stay tuned for more goals and highlights!
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Two USMNT goal scorers are sending their squads through to the next rounds of their respective European tournaments.
Starting in UEFA Champions League qualifying, USMNT midfielder Malik Tillman of EFL side Queens Park Rangers got up and over Union Saint-Gilloise defenders to send QPR to the next round of the UCL.
The 79th-minute goal gave QPR a 3-2 aggregate lead over USG of Belgium. It was Tillman’s first QPR goal, and a crucial one, after signing on a loan from Bayern a month ago.
Queens Park Rangers will face a tough challenge in PSV Eindhoven in the next playoff round.
Meanwhile, over in the EFL Cup…
USMNT striker and prominent redhead Josh Sargent converted a clutch penalty against Birmingham City FC to put his Norwich City through to the next round.
Sargent’s hair may be red, but his blood is ice blue.
Sargent only played the last 14 minutes of the game and recorded only four touches before stepping up and knocking it down like a champ, putting the team on his back.
If Sargent and Tillman keep this up, they might be finding the back of the net in Qatar come late November.
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After a long, contentious, hopeful, and downright bewildering summer transfer window, it seems Barcelona might actually be able to pull it all off.
Reports from Spain claim Barcelona is planning to activate its ‘fourth lever,’ or palanca, of financial influence to raise club revenues so they can register their new signings in La Liga.
After selling 24.5% of Barca Studios to blockchain giant Socios.com earlier this month, Barca appeared ready to register stars Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Francke Kessie, Andreas Christensen, Jules Kounde, and (reportedly) Marcos Alonso. However, La Liga balked, saying FCB had to raise more revenue to meet their financial fair play requirements. Now La Blaugrana is selling another 24.5% of Barca Studios, this time to Spanish investment fund GDA Luma.
Samuel Marsden was also one of the first to report that La Liga would not allow Barca to register new signings without more revenue.
In other Barca transfer window news, transfer medium Fabrizio Romano says FCB is sending wunderkind Nico to La Liga side Valencia until 2023 without a buy option. Having just sent Portuguese striker Guedes to Wolves, Valencia needs young firepower. Romano also says Barca striker Memphis Depay might be moving to Juventus, depending on whether or not Aubameyang (and Frenkie de Jong) wind up in London with Chelsea.
Featured Image: Pexels/Tim Douglas/FCBarcelona/DM
English Football League Championship team Burnley is reportedly favored to sign USMNT winger Konrad de la Fuente from Ligue 1.
Konrad, a Barcelona product, joined French side Marseille in 2021, making 16 appearances for last season’s Ligue 1 runner-up.
After a productive season with the Champions League-bound squad, reports surfaced of a big move to Bayern during the transfer window. Unfortunately for USMNT fans and Konrad, the claims were quickly denied.
Rumors also swirled of a return to La Liga with the recently-promoted Valladolid for the Miami-born, Barcelona-raised Haitian-American.
It then appeared that a move back to La Liga was off the table for the right-footed winger as reports of reigning Greek Super League Champions Olympiacos and Turkish club Besiktas vying for the American’s services surfaced.
The rumor mill never stops swirling, especially for those associated with Barcelona. The latest word is that the EFL Championship side Burnley are now the favorites to sign the winger.
If Konrad did go to the recently relegated Burnley, he would join other USMNT hopefuls Zack Steffen, Daryl Dike, and (maybe) Matthew Hoppe.
Wherever Konrad ends up playing league football, he’ll want quality playing time to make the USMNT World Cup 2022 roster in Qatar.
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