Soccer

Premier League on NBC podcast: Selecting a dream team

Premier League on NBC podcast: Selecting a dream team

Since the Premier League started in 1992, only six teams have ever lifted the Premier League title: Manchester United (13 times), Chelsea (5), Manchester City (4), Arsenal (3), Blackburn Rovers (1) and Leicester City (1).

Liverpool were well on their way to becoming the seventh team on that list when the 2019-20 season went on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On this week’s episode of the Premier League on NBC podcast, the group got together to pick from the best that the Premier League’s 28 seasons have to offer for a make-believe 6-a-side tournament. True to form, each manager had their own vision for their side with some opting for a more bruising approach (we’re looking at your Robbie Earle) while others vying for a little more panache and attacking flair (Kyle Martino).

The draft went in a snake format with Arlo White getting the first selection, which was quite a doozy.

Arlo White: Jamie Vardy, Paul Gascoigne, Riyad Mahrez, Graeme Le Saux, Lee Dixon, Kasper Schmeichel
Robbie Mustoe: Dennis Bergkamp, David Silva, Ederson, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Cristiano Ronaldo
Robbie Earle: Roy Keane, John Terry, Vincent Jones, Diego Costa, Peter Schmeichel, Tony Adams
Kyle Martino: Thierry Henry, Eric Cantona, Gianfranco Zola, Gareth Bale, Jaap Stam, Fabian Barthez
Graeme Le Saux: Eden Hazard, Paul Scholes, Andrew Robertson, Didier Drogba, James Milner, David de Gea

There certainly were some interesting choices made, especially since none of the all-time top five Premier League goal scorers made the cut.

Nor did the all-time leader in assists (Ryan Giggs) or in clean sheets (Petr Cech) find their way onto any of the five squads drafted above. There was also no spot for players like Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard or even the last Englishman to win the Ballon D’Or as the top footballer in the world, Michael Owen. No love either for current greats Harry Kane (.60 goals per appearance), Mo Salah (.64) or Sergio Aguero (.69 goals per appearance, the highest strike rate in Premier League history).

You’ll have to listen for yourself as to why certain players like these were left off of the lists for each of the pundits on NBC’s Premier League coverage but there are some glaring holes amongst the sides.

For commissioner Rebecca Lowe, it was an easy choice as to who would win this tournament and honestly, it’s not really much of a competition for Robbie Mustoe’s side.

He somehow snagged Cristiano Ronaldo with the penultimate pick of the draft. That should tell you all you need to know.

A two-time Premier League Player of the Year left until the 2nd-to-last pick? The only concern is if they went up against the leg breakers of Robbie Earle.

Beware the two-footed, studs-up tackle.
 

Washington DC launches bid to host 2026 FIFA World Cup matches

Washington DC launches bid to host 2026 FIFA World Cup matches

It’s still six years out, but Washington, D.C. is making a push to bring the 2026 FIFA World Cup to the nation’s capital.

With North America selected as the location of choice for the 2026 World Cup rather than one country in particular, D.C. officials announced Tuesday their intention to make Washington one of the 16 host cities for the 80-match tournament.

“Right now, as countries around the world continue to respond to this pandemic, the 2026 FIFA World Cup is something we can all look forward to,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement. “And when the tournament comes to North America, it only makes sense for DC — the Sports Capital and District of Champions — to host. We are already a city united by the game, and in 2026, we look forward to uniting the world.”

According to The Washington Post, 10 cities from the U.S. are expected to land matches for the tournament with Canada and Mexico splitting the other six. It will be the first time in World Cup history that the tournament will be shared by more than two countries.

The District established a group called DC2026, which announced a 40-member advisory board that includes D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid, three-time MLS champion Eddie Pope, Washington Spirit stars Joanna Lohman and Andi Sullivan, two-time gold medalist Brianna Scurry, EventsDC chairman Max Brown, chef José Andrés and D.C. United general partner Gregory O’Dell.

“As a native Washingtonian, I am proud to be a Co-Chair of DC’s official bid committee to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup,” Hamid said in a statement. “I could not think of a more vibrant, inclusive or passionate soccer city to host FIFA World Cup matches in 2026. With our deep soccer roots and diversity, the culture of our city gives us our foundation to successfully highlight the matches and leave a lasting impact on the future of the game.”

DC2026 plans to tout D.C.’s “unparalleled roots to the sport of soccer and world-class hosting capabilities” as part of its pitch. In a three-page press release, the group laid out advantages such as the metro system and three local airports that would allow it to host the increased number of tourists.

The city last hosted the World Cup in 1994, when it made RFK Stadium one of nine U.S. venues for the tournament. It’s also held Olympic soccer games (1996) as well as the 1999 and 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

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WATCH: American Christian Pulisic nets second goal for Chelsea in as many games

WATCH: American Christian Pulisic nets second goal for Chelsea in as many games

The Premier League restart has gone as good as possible for Christian Pulisic.

The United States National Team star netted his second goal in as many games for Chelsea on Thursday, giving the Blues a 1-0 lead over Manchester City shortly before halftime.

Pulisic gained possession of the ball off of a poor City turnover, and suddenly, he was one-on-one with defender Benjamin Mendy. The American winger used a brilliant hesitation move to dribble past Mendy before curling his shot past keeper Ederson for the goal.

Pulisic's goal comes on the heels of his solid outing on Sunday, where he scored Chelsea's first goal in a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa. Thursday's finish was Pulisic's eighth goal in 25 appearances since arriving at Chelsea from German side Borussia Dortmund this past summer.

Pulisic had previously been sidelined since January 1 with an adductor injury but was close to returning before the season was paused in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Premier League's resumption gives the American star a chance to rewrite the narrative on an otherwise incomplete first season with the Blues.

Besides Chelsea supporters, no one is happier about Pulisic's goal than Liverpool fans. Should Chelsea win or draw, Liverpool will clinch their first-ever Premier League title (and first league title in 30 years).

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