Soccer

Premier League Roundup: Manager Dean Smith confirms Jonathan Kodjia's ankle injury

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Associated Press

Premier League Roundup: Manager Dean Smith confirms Jonathan Kodjia's ankle injury

We're less than two weeks into Premier League Season and things have already shaken up. Between dramatic draws, undeserved penalties and raucous fans, saying there's excitement going into Matchday 3 would be an understatement. 

Here's the latest news and notes surrounding the Premier League:

Team/Player News

Aston Villa: In lieu of opening weekend, Jonathan Kodjia's "high ankle sprain" has been confirmed by manager Dean Smith. This prevented the forward from any involvement At Villa Park, and could leave him sidelined until the end of August. But Kodjia's not alone: manager Smith proved himself to be the bearer of bad news yet again after confirming Kortney Hause's ankle injury that he picked up in Leipzig. The defender is still recovering.

Arsenal: It looks like the Gunner's busy pre-season ride was worth it. Winning both games this season, Dani Ceballos played an integral role in their second victory, setting up both Arsenal goals and leading the team to a 2-1 home win. 

Burnley: The Clarets were humbled this weekend (refresher: their matchday 1 game resulted in a 3-0 victory for Burnley), after the Gunners got the best of them and won 2-1. However, Ashley Barnes has been a consistent positive attribute to the team despite their rollercoaster of a start. Barnes has completed three goals in two matches, and his hot streak is expected to continue. 

Norwich City: The team dominated Newcastle in a 3-1 victory in their home opener, and they gave their fans quite the show in the process. Teemu Pukki recorded a hat-trick to loud and supportive home support, and the striker now leads the Premier League with four goals in two games. Between a stunning volley, and teaming up with midfielder Todd Cantwell for two goals/assists in the course of 12 minutes to finish off the Magpies, Pukki has risen to the top of everybody's fantasy team wish lists. 

Liverpool: Sadio Mane's start to the season was an exciting one. With the game tied, the Senegalese international made a move to his right before unleashing a deadly right-footed blast to give the Reds the lead. Liverpool continued to hold their own and finished victoriously 2-1 over Southampton, giving them six points within just two games.

Southampton: Maybe dropping Danny Ings from the starting XI wasn't the Saints' best idea. Following a drastic loss during week 1, Southampton entered their match against Liverpool hoping to shake things up. The team fell flat, losing 2-1, forward Danny Ings was able to make an impact once he was let off the bench. The forward scored the Saints' only goal in two games and the team is hoping for their first positive result next weekend against Brighton.

Manchester City: City have spent the entirety of this season so far crushing statistics. The team registered 32 shots to Tottenham's three, had 34 crosses to Tottenham's seven and took 13 corners to Tottenham's two. But these sweet plays weren't enough: the Spurs held their own and Manchester City ended their match on August 17th with a 2-2 tie. Kevin De Bruyne was the focal point for both goals.

Tottenham Hotspurs: Forward Erik Lamela can be accredited for both goals, assisting one and scoring another, and allowing the team to just barely escape The Etihad and end with a tie. Not long after City scored the opening point, a pass from Tanguy Ndombele set Lamela up with a bending effort from 20 yards out for his first goal, and the forward later landed an unstoppable corner.

Leicester City: Wilfred Ndidi was on both sides of the coin last game: both giving up and scoring a goal as Leicester City and Chelsea drew 1-1. In the first, Mason Mount picked Wilfred Ndidi’s pocket and coolly shot the ball by Kasper Schmeichel for his first Chelsea goal and the 1-0 advantage. Later in the game, Chelsea’s zonal marking broke down as Maddison found Ndidi on a corner for the second goal of the game.

Everton: Left-back Lucas Digne limped off with a suspected hamstring injury on Saturday, but fears were squashed after Everton boss Marco Silva alluded to the injury being "nothing special." But beware of wishful thinking: a trip to Villa Park doesn't seem likely (or realistic) for Digne.

Wolverhampton: Man United spent much time hosting a crowded box, but it wasn't enough to keep Wolves' Raul Neves from shooting through the defense, leading to a 1-1 draw. Neves' goal was followed by a Paul Pogba miss on an undeserved penalty, and the match ended in a tie.

Source: NBC Sports Rotoworld

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Washington Spirit trade USWNT forward Mallory Pugh for draft picks

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USA TODAY Sports Images

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.

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric could be headed to D.C. United , per report

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Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric could be headed to D.C. United , per report

Former D.C. United striker Wayne Rooney returned to England earlier this month, but another European soccer star could be headed to D.C. this summer.

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric could be headed to D.C. United as early as the 2020 summer, according to The Athletic.

The two sides met first following the end of United's 2019 season and Modric is very open to the idea of moving stateside, according to the report. 

Modric, 34, is widely considered one of the best midfielders of all-time. Modric led Croatia to the World Cup final in 2018, earning the Golden Ball, given to the best player in the tournament. He won the Ballon d'Or in 2018 as well, given to the best player that year, both club and international.

The midfielder arrived in Spain's capital in 2012 and has been a staple in Real Madrid's lineup since. Modric has scored 15 goals in 214 appearances with Madrid and 16 goals in 127 appearances with Croatia. The 2019-20 season has been the first time Modric hasn't been an every match starter, as he's been splitting time with 21-year-old Fred Valverde. 

Should he join United, Modric would immediately be the team's best player and likely the best player in all of Major League Soccer. Buckle up, folks.