Manchester United and Chelsea bounced back from their midweek Champions League struggles to advance in the FA Cup. United defeated Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday, and Chelsea defeated Leicester 2-1 after extra time on Sunday. Manchester United drew Tottenham in the semifinals, while the other semifinal will be Chelsea vs. Southampton. United have the extra challenge of facing Tottenham at Wembley, where they have played all year as their new stadium is being finished. Tottenham have not lost at Wembley in the Premier League since August.
The U.S. Men’s National Team released their roster for the upcoming friendly against Paraguay. It is a very young team, with the average age being 23, and five first time call-ups, including Erik Palmer-Brown, and Tim Weah, who has just recently made his debut with the Paris Saint-Germain first team. This is also a team made up of mostly European-based players, as MLS will be playing through the international break. Matt Doyle of MLSsoccer.com breaks down what he likes and doesn’t like about the latest U.S. roster.
You might remember a blockbuster trade in the NWSL that sent Carli Lloyd from the Houston Dash to Sky Blue FC, Sky Blue FC traded star goalscorer Sam Kerr to the Chicago Red Stars, and Chicago traded Christen Press to Houston. Seems like a win-win for all parties, except Christen Press who apparently has refused to go to Houston. The Dash never got confirmation from Press that she would want to play there, and now she has told them she does not want to go to Houston, and would prefer a West Coast team if she stayed in NWSL. Now here’s where things get tricky, Press, along with most of the other players who are on the USWNT, sign their contracts with U.S. Soccer, and not with the NWSL, and therefore have a degree of autonomy from the individual clubs. This also creates a division between federation players and non-federation players, who do sign their contracts directly with their clubs. It’s unclear how this works out, but this could be the spark that cause NWSL and U.S. Soccer to reshape some of the structures of the league that could cause problems like this.
Everyone’s favorite enigmatic Italian looks to be on the move at the end of the season. After struggling for his last few seasons, Mario Balotelli went to Nice last year, and did very well, getting back to his scoring ways, and helping to lead Nice to qualify for the Champions League this season. This year Balotelli has done well again, scoring 22 goals in all competitions so far, however Nice are 8th in Ligue 1 and unlikely to qualify for Europe next year. Napoli and Roma have been rumored to be interested in Balotelli, and though it’s unclear which team Balotelli will go to, it sounds like he will probably be on his way back to Italy.
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