Tag Archives: America

Captain America arrives in England: The impact of Pulisic’s big day at Burnley

It was the 60th-minute in a CONCACAF Nations League match between host Canada and the U.S. at BMO Field in Toronto on October 15. U.S. National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter was substituting D.C. United’s Paul Arriola into a tied game at zero, but it was for the “wonder boy” – Christian Pulisic. As Pulisic headed toward the bench, the TV cameras caught his frustrations and how emotional he was to be taken off in a game in which the U.S. would end up losing 2-0, the first time the national team had lost to Canada since 1985. But, was the disappointment Pulisic faced ended up igniting a fire in him?

Since returning back to England after the U.S. were upset, Pulisic has been on a tear for Chelsea. In Pulisic’s first game since the international break, he provided the game-winning assist to Marcos Alonso in the 73rd-minute after coming on to the pitch nine minutes before in a 1-0 victory over Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge. Later, in a mid-week Champions League matchup against Ajax at the Johan Cruijff ArenA, Pulisic provided an assist to fellow substitute and former Borussia Dortmund teammate Michy Batshuayi in the 86th-minute to help the team take a first-place spot in Group H. However, Pulisic’s biggest impact for the Blues was in his first Premier League Start since August 31.

Pulisic, who had been providing some help as a substitute in recent matches, was given the nod by coach Frank Lampard to start against Burnley, who were in 7th place in the league at the time the match was played. The young American made an immediate impact in his start as he opened up the scoring for Chelsea with a goal in the 21st-minute for his first Premier League goal. 

However, the most expensive American soccer player was not done as he would score another goal – with the help of a deflection from Ben Mee – to help the Blues have a two-goal lead heading into halftime.

The perfect hat trick – a goal with the left foot, right foot, and header – was sealed for Pulisic as he headed in a cross from Mason Mount in the 56th-minute to become the youngest in Premier League history with a hat trick (21 years, 38 days) to help Chelsea to a 4-2 victory at Turf Moor.

            This game for Pulisic also made him just the second U.S. player to score a hat trick in the Premier League since Clint Dempsey was able to accomplish that feat on January 21, 2012 as Fulham defeated Newcastle 5-2.  Pulisic was also the first Chelsea player to have a perfect hat trick since club legend Didier Drogba’s big game against Wigan on May 9, 2010 in an 8-0 victory to help the Blues clinch their third Premier League title. 

With pressure coming from every direction, from U.S. soccer fans to different media outlets, it looked as if it was taking a toll on the $73 million American sensation out of Hershey, Pennsylvania. Some were already labeling this move bust and wondered if Pulisic would ever break through with the squad after a tough start to the Premier League season, ignoring the fact that he is a mere 21 years of age. However, Pulisic ignored the banter and did not try to emulate the guy he supposedly was brought in to replace – Eden Hazard- but focused on being the best player he could be. With this game against Burnley, the future is bright for Captain America as he attempts to take the league by storm.

Photo – Metro, CBS, Sky.

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England are in to another Semi Final

Following on from the men’s two Semi-Final’s in the last 12 months and their own World Cup and European success the England Women are once again into the last 4. This time it’s a little different, at the start of the completion my minimum expectation was for the Lionesses to reach this stage. That’s how good I think they are, they should not over celebrate and rest on their laurels. They’re ranked 3rd in the World for a reason, the ranking suggests they should be at this stage and anything less would have been disappointing.

This is not putting down there performances, the way they have dispatched Norway and Cameroon both 3-0 in the knockout rounds has been very impressive and comfortable, something we don’t associate with England football teams. Against Norway, Jill Scott & Lucy Bronze both showed their class by both putting in outstanding performances. Scott got her first goal of the tournament in only the second minute of the game, which got England off to the perfect start and set the tone for the remainder of the game. Scott is now England’s (men and women) all-time record World Cup appearance holder overtaking Peter Shilton. Shilton left Scott a message on Twitter to congratulate her which left Jill very emotional. Lucy Bronze showed why Phil Neville rates her as the best player in the world by making several long-bursting runs from her right back position. She provided the assist for Scott’s opener and repeated her feat of scoring a screamer from the edge of area against Norway in a World Cup Quarter Final by firing home to make it 3-0. Ellen White continued her scoring run with the second and go level at the top of the race for the golden boot. This is a great rise for Ellen having played second fiddle to Jodie Taylor, Who won the boot 2 years ago at the Euro’s.

England will play USA in the Semi Final after a closely fought contest against France. The USWNT could punish England if they don’t cut out some sloppiness at the back and poor passes. Steph Houghton in particular has had to put in some fantastic challenges to rescue her side due to errors from others but that’s why she is an outstanding defender and captain.

There are also players which can improve in the Attack, Toni Duggan for example is still suffering from not being fully fit and there is more to come from Fran Kirby. Neither have found the net yet which is quite staggering when you consider how talented they are and how free scoring England have been. If England are to lift the trophy I feel one or both of these two will have a big part to play.

England have options to change the starting line-up and one I would consider is in midfield, Keira Walsh is young and got caught out of position from her defensive midfield role on occasions against Norway and Jade Moore is much more experienced and steady alternative. The left back position is an interesting one for me because I am a massive fan of Alex Greenwood with her attacking delivery however Demi Stokes is stronger defensively and I think Neville will opt for her.

American dreams: Top 5 MLS to EPL signings

Not really known for it’s exports, Major League Soccer has been more accustomed to big named stars from European football Gracing their presence in the twilight of their careers, players like Andrea Pirlo, Kaka, Thierry Henry and most recently Zlatan Ibrahimovic and our own Wayne Rooney. However with Newcastle United signing Miguel Almiron from one of the MLS’s newest outfits Atlanta United its changed this trend. With the MLS being back underway this weekend we take a look at the top 5 signings to make their way across the Atlantic to these shores.

  1. Clint Dempsey

Signed by Fulham from the New England Revolution in 2007, Dempsey went on to score 50 goals for the Cottagers in his 5 years in West London where he helped guide Fulham to the UEFA Cup final in 2010, which ended in a 2-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid. He still remains the club’s highest Premier League goalscorer ahead of fellow American Brian McBride. In 2012, the Texan was transferred to Tottenham where he scored 7 goals before he returned home to the U.S. the following season with the Seattle Sounders. In 2014 Dempsey returned to Fulham on loan but failed to add to his goal tally in England. With 57 goals in England, Clint Dempsey is the highest scoring American in any of Europe’s top leagues and showed that American players could be relied upon to score goals, something that hadn’t been seen at that time.

2. Brad Friedel

The American moved across the pond after he was signed by Liverpool in 1997 and had a tremendous 18-year stint in the Premier League also playing for Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa and Tottenham, where he collectively racked up 479 appearances. Friedel originally had 3 failed transfers to the Premier League with Nottingham Forest, Newcastle United and Sunderland due to work permit issues. He was finally cleared to move following a successful appeal to play for Liverpool after signing from Columbus Crew. Blackburn’s League Cup victory against Spurs in 2002 was the only trophy Friedel won during his time in England, that same season he made the PFA team of the year. While at Blackburn he also scored a goal in a 3-3 draw with Charlton, which he remains only 1 of 5 keepers to do this in the league. One of Friedel’s greatest attributes was his fitness, the keeper went on to play 310 consecutive games in the Premier League, which is still a record to this day.

3. Tim Howard

Another goalkeeper on this list, something the United States has had great success with over the years. Tim Howard signed for Manchester United from the New York Red Bulls (formally known as the New York/Jersey MetroStars) in 2003, winning the Community Shield and the FA Cup in his first season and adding the League cup in 2006. With the addition of Dutch master Edwin Van Der Sar in 2005, Howard’s chances became limited. This provoked a loan to Everton before he completed a transfer to the Toffees in 2007, where he made 354 total appearances. Like his compatriot Brad Friedel, he also scored a goal in the league, against Bolton Wanderers. Howard ended his career as the highest capped U.S national team goalkeeper of all time.

4. Brian McBride

In the 2000/2001 season, while at Columbus Crew, McBride was sent out on loan to Preston North End, then managed by David Moyes. Moyes took the American born forward with him when he moved from the Second Division club to Premier league Everton where the striker scored 4 goals in 8 appearances. The following season McBride secured a move to Fulham, playing 140 games and scoring 33 goals making him the club’s second highest Premier League goalscorer behind fellow American and Fulham legend Clint Dempsey. The striker’s no-nonsense play and maximum effort made him a fan favourite at craven cottage.

5. Miguel Almiron

The Paraguayan only moved to the Premier League in January, breaking Newcastle United’s transfer record with his move from Atlanta United for £20m, the highest fee paid for an MLS player. With only a small sample size of just 4 games so far it’s premature for Almiron to make this list but the potential the attacking midfielder has is breathtaking, his pace, running quality, passing and eye for goal will delight the Geordie faithful and help the club push on to better things in the future.

Almiron is just one of a host of exciting MLS players developed in the league who could find their way to the Premier League very soon. Can Almiron live up to the hype and reach the potential set by his predecessors?

Wayne Edge @oasis1711