Soccer

Premier League Roundup: Arsenal sign winger Nicolas Pepe for club-record fee

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Premier League Roundup: Arsenal sign winger Nicolas Pepe for club-record fee

With the start of the Premier League season just one week away, clubs are making their final preparations for the long campaign ahead.

Here's the latest news about the Premier League:

Team/Player News

Arsenal: The Gunners announced the signing of Lille 24-year-old winger Nicolas Pepe for a club-record fee near £72 million. The Ivory Coast international scored 22 goals for his Ligue 1 side last season, finishing second in the league and qualifying for the UEFA Champions League. Pepe will wear No. 19 and adds to an already impressive Arsenal attack that boasts Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil, Alex Iwobi, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eddie Nketiah. (Source: Pro Soccer Talk)

Bournemouth: The club has fallen into an injury crisis at the worst possible time. After the news that midfielder Dan Gosling had undergone hip surgery that will keep him out until October, Bournemouth was given more bad news when further tests revealed that David Brooks would also need an operation. After the Welsh international left Saturday's match against Brentford, manager Eddie Howe described the injury as a "slight [ankle] twist." A scan revealed that the midfielder's ligament damage was much worse, and Brooks will be forced to miss up to 12 weeks of action.

Aston Villa: The club announced the signing of Burnley goalkeeper and captain Tom Heaton in an £8 million move. The 33-year-old relieves a logjam at his previous club, as Joe Hart and Nick Pope are also competing for the starting job. Heaton was a staple at Burnley for years before a serious shoulder injury forced him to miss most of the previous two seasons. The England international will have a chance to start before Euro 2020 after missing the World Cup.

Manchester United: Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed the knee injury suffered by Eric Bailly is much worse than initially thought. The club hoped that the defender could return in 6-8 weeks after appearing to twist his knee during United's International Champions Cup win over Tottenham. However, further tests revealed the larger extent of the issue and Bailly had an operation on Tuesday. Solskjaer said that his defender will miss "the best part of four to five months."

Everton: The club has confirmed that Idrissa Gueye has joined Paris Saint-Germain in a £30 million move. Since arriving from Aston Villa three years ago, the central midfielder has played a critical role for the Toffees. Gueye made 99 Premier League appearances for Everton and reached the African Cup of Nations final this summer with Senegal.  Everton have now raised more than £50 million in the last couple of days and are looking to reinvest as they continue their pursuits of Juventus forward Moise Kean and Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha.

Source: Rotoworld

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The Big Twenty: DC United wins MLS Cup

The Big Twenty: DC United wins MLS Cup

For the next three weeks, NBC Sports Washington will be rolling out the 20 biggest stories in DMV sports in the past 20 years. Here is No. 19.

A new phenom. A new coach. A renewed hope that DC United could return to glory and capture their first MLS Cup title since 1999.

That is exactly what transpired as the 2004 MLS season brought the fourth championship in team history to DC United.

The offseason started with the departure of Ray Hudson behind the bench, replaced by retired Chicago Fire star Peter Nowak. One of the best players in the early days of MLS, Nowak had retired from playing in 2002 before taking a job in the Chicago front office. When DCU’s ownership came calling, Nowak jumped at the chance to take over the most highly-decorated team in the league’s young history.

In the same month that Nowak took the helm, DC United brought 14-year-old phenom Freddy Adu aboard, becoming the youngest American to ever sign a contract in any professional league. The youngster carried plenty of hype into his first professional season and finished third on the team with five goals while playing in every match.

The retirement of longtime club legend, and last remaining member of the inaugural 1996 team, Marco Etcheverry at the end of the 2003 season brought an end to the initial Golden Age of DC United when the club collected eight trophies across all competitions in the first three years of its existence. 2004 marked the start of a second golden age with the team winning another four trophies to add to the trophy case in the next four years.

The regular season started slowly for United with a 5-8-6 record in the first 19 games of the season. The team rebounded in August and rode a 6-2-3 close to the season to the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Forwards Alecko Eskandarian and Jaime Moreno shouldered the scoring load for the Black-and-Red with 10 and seven goals respectively as DC got set for a Conference Semifinal matchup with the New York/New Jersey Metrostars in the first round of the postseason.

United ran through the MetroStars with back-to-back 2-0 victories, booking its place in the Eastern Conference Final with the New England Revolution. A riveting back-and-forth game saw United take the lead three separate times only for the Revolution to equalize thrice themselves. All level at three after 90 minutes and extra time, the game was decided in the first-ever penalty shootout in MLS history. In the sudden-death sixth round, United’s Brian Carroll scored and goalkeeper Nick Rimando saved a Clint Dempsey penalty to advance to the club’s fifth MLS Cup in the first nine years of the league.

Kansas City Wizards emerged from the Western Conference to face the Black-and-Red in MLS Cup 2004 played at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA. Kansas City took an early lead before DC scored three goals in seven minutes and held on for the fourth title in the club’s eight-year history, and to date, the last time the club has lifted the MLS Cup.

Washington Spirit trade USWNT forward Mallory Pugh for draft picks

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Washington Spirit trade USWNT forward Mallory Pugh for draft picks

The Washington Spirit traded U.S. Women's National Team forward Mallory Pugh to Sky Blue FC on Thursday.

In the deal, the Spirit received the No. 4 overall pick in Thursday's NWSL draft, which they used to select UCLA junior forward Ashley Sanchez. The Spirit also acquired the No. 4 and No. 8 picks of the second round and a 2021 first-rounder.

Washington initially announced that the trade was for a "player to be named later." A post on the team's Twitter account thanking Pugh eventually confirmed the news.

"Thank you @MalPugh for everything you have done for the club and this city. Best of luck with @SkyBlueFC," read the tweet.

Pugh, 21, played in 19 games with seven starts for the U.S. national team in 2019, and her six goals tied for fifth on the team. She made three appearances and scored one goal with one assist as the U.S. claimed gold in the World Cup. She had 10 goals and four assists in three seasons with the Spirit.

Like Pugh, Sanchez is also a member of the USWNT program. After being selected on Thursday, she said the process of turning pro was stressful.

"It was a little stressful, but I'm just really excited," Sanchez said. "This is what I've always dreamed about. And to be at a team like Washington, it's really humbling."

Sanchez led UCLA with 15 assists in the 2019 season, tying her own school single-season record from the previous season, and she was second on the team with seven goals. Sanchez is UCLA’s all-time assists leader with 42 and was a 2018 first-team All-American.

"Ashley is one of the most dynamic players to ever play at UCLA," said UCLA head coach Amanda Cromwell. "It's remarkable that she broke our career assists record as a junior. We know Ashley's success as a Bruin will help her in her endeavors as a professional and national team member. We are excited for her future and wish her the best of luck."

In the second round, the Spirit drafted USC's Natalie Jacobs and Washington State's Averie Collins. They drafted Kansas' Katie McClure in the third round and Sanchez's UCLA teammate Kaiya McCullough in the fourth.