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A highlight from Man United's Ten Hag Revival
"Hello and welcome into the latest edition of ESPN FC. Ali Moreno, Shakya Hislop and myself, Kay Murray here to look back on what went down in the Premier League on Thursday when Manchester United took on Chelsea, hoping to secure Champions League football next season. They did that. It was a 4 -1 win. Eric Ten Hardsman needed just a point. They took all three in that 4 -1 victory over the Blues, Casimiro scoring the opener. That was followed up by another goal in the first half from Anthony Marcial. Bruno Fernandes won and scored a penalty and Marcus Rashford was gifted a goal. He was back in action for his side. It finished 4 -1 and it is a top -four finish for Manchester United who will be playing in the Champions League next season. Frank LaBeouf is joining us now and let's start with you then, Frank. Job done. Manchester United are in the Champions League next season. Yes, Kay, I was scared when you say job done. I thought you wanted to talk about Chelsea. I said, what? What's going wrong? Yes, yes, Manchester United did what they had to do. It wasn't that convincing, I would say, because Chelsea played better in the middle of the park but cannot defend and cannot attack. I found Manchester United very united, working together and being crucial in the moment that they needed to. The header from Casimiro, Casimiro, we have to talk about him, that guy changed Manchester United, definitely. Coming to Manchester from Real Madrid was a huge challenge and he's really the man who changes everything when he's on the field. United deserved to win overall, they were more compact, more accurate and they did the job. So, congratulations to them, I think it's a deserving position to get into the Champions League. Welcome in Julien Laron as well. It was touch and go at the top of the show, we were going to have him from the top of the show. How lucky are we? We are very lucky to have him. We can't afford Julien, is that what's touch and go? Lots and lots of credit as Frank's just given to Casimiro there, but so much has to be given to Eric Ten Hag, taking over what you could say was a broken team and fixing things and putting it all back together. Yes, of course, you're right and let's not forget the terrible start of the season that they had, the defeat against Brighton, then the hammering away at Brantford in the first league game of the season. At that time, if you had said to Ten Hag himself, to the club, to the fans that they would win the final of the FA Cup still to be played, that they would finish top four, I don't think anybody really would have believed it because they looked that bad and yet he turned things around so brilliantly. They're third in the table now, OK, maybe in Europe it was a bit disappointing in the way they got knocked out by Sevilla, certainly over that second leg where they never really responded. But overall, it's been very, very positive in many respects, the way they've played, the direction that Ten Hag has given to this team, the new signing, like Franck said, Casemiro of course starting, Anthony still has more work to do, of course, to have that similar kind of impact. But if they sign the right players in the right position, they will be a real force next season. Who gets more credit, Shaka, the players or Ten Hag? I give it to Ten Hag. I think it was a very difficult job just to start with, made infinitely more so by Cristiano Ronaldo and what kind of developed over those first couple of months in the season. Managing somebody like Ronaldo with his presence, just his presence in the game, never mind how much he meets at Manchester United, but just his presence is never easy. That's a huge ask for anybody. For Eric Ten Hag, coming from the Eredivisie, first time in English football, brand new to Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo, last season's leading goalscorer and everything that I just spoke about, how he managed that transition, how he managed Ronaldo speaking out to deliver what can only be now seen as a successful Manchester United season. And listen, I know, we sit here and we expect Manchester United to be competing at the top end of the Premier League table. But as Jules said, if in October or November you said we'd be talking about a United team that has already won one cup, is in the final of another, are comfortably in the Champions League places with a game to go, I'm not sure how many people would have, I certainly wouldn't have believed it. So credit to Ten Hag. At the same time, you have to give credit to players because I think there are a lot of deficiencies about this United side, but somehow they managed to get it done. And as far as Marcus Rashford, that was his 30th goal of the season as well, Ale. So if we're going to give credit to the players and we're going to talk about Casemiro and Manchester United, we also have to talk about Marcus Rashford, who I think has taken his game to an entirely different level. Always a hard worker, always a dangerous player, but wasn't always the finisher, wasn't always the guy who provided that final touch. And now he has turned his career from a player who, again, would get in good position, but not always finish, to a player who gets in good positions and now we expect him to finish. In fact, we're surprised when he doesn't. That's how good of a season he's had individually and how much of a game changer he has become for Manchester United and they needed him. They needed him to be that guy. Now I don't know if in the future for Manchester United, if indeed they're going to consider themselves a title contender, if they're going to be able to rely upon Marcus Rashford to be that guy again. I think they need another player through the middle and let Marcus Rashford do what he does from the left -hand side. But in terms of the maturity of his game, the maturity of his goals, the ability for him to score key goals in key moments and important moments for Manchester United, we have seen a different level, a dominant level from Marcus Rashford. He was a very, very impressive player this season. While we're handing out accolades to players, a player who I think has been very important for Manchester United but maybe didn't get that credit is Luke Shaw. Here's a player who was written off a couple of seasons ago, who this season has gone from left -back to filling in as centre -back and does so wonderfully well when other players were suffering loss of form in Maguire or injury at Varan. He comes in and he fills a needed void for Ten Hag. But even more than that, when United have not been good, he has been the one who stepped in front of the cameras and taking the heat for, at times, sub -par Manchester United performances. That's the kind of leadership that I think United have been lacking. Now, I'm not going to sit here and say that Luke Shaw is a cure -all leader that Manchester United have been looking for, but when needed, Luke Shaw has been the player to step up. We see what Casamiro does on the field. We know how important Marcus Rashford is, but those little things, those little attributes about Shaw, I think has come in huge for Ten Hag during the course of this season. To your point about managing and the importance of Ten Hag, Luke Shaw was left for dead by Jose Mourinho.
A highlight from VAMOS with Herc Gomez, Presented by Bud Light 05/25/23
"Of Fernando Palomo from ESPN Deportes bringing us that incredible moment when Kyle Lahren, the Canadian international, finds the back of the net on his penalty kick for Valladolid in a 2 -0 scoreline at that moment against Barcelona. He does go on to give a great assist at the end, 3 -1 is the final scoreline, a scoreline that keeps Valladolid safe for the moment. This is Vamos presented by Bud Light, easy to drink, easy to enjoy, and I'm your host In episode, this Ere Divisie champion, Mexican international forward Santiago Jimenez opens up about his Feyenoord journey, and while we're on the topic of forwards, Raul Jimenez says goodbye to the Wolverhampton fans, and a little U20 World Cup talk for the U .S. Youth National team. But for all this and more, what are you waiting for, Vamos! I'm really excited to present this interview for you guys with Santiago Jimenez, one of the talented more players, more exciting players in all of CONCAF today, a player that's on the tip of everybody's tongue in Europe. This man is wanted, and we got him here with us on Vamos. We're going to talk to him about what makes him tick. His upbringing in Mexico, playing for Cruz Azul, how he got to where he is today at Feyenoord, that amazing goal scoring streak, fighting for titles, and maybe even a golden boot. So I can't wait to share this with you guys. Here we go. I'm with one of the premier goal scorers right now in all of CONCACAF, a man who's fighting for the golden boot right now in the area of Divisi. It's Santiago Jimenez. Santi, how are you doing, my man? I'm doing great. Thank you very much. Thanks for the invitation. Here on Vamos, we talk a lot about the best in CONCACAF, a lot of great goal scorers. I mean, you have Jonathan David, a Canada, Kyle Lahren, Canadian as well, Ricardo Pepe, Folarin Baligan just committed to the US Men's National Team. Who's the best nine in CONCACAF right now? I think Jonathan David, I like it a lot. He's awesome playing. He scored a lot of goals, and then the competition is really nice because it's good to hear that CONCACAF players are doing great in Europe, and that's nice for me to hear. Somebody who's doing very well in Europe is yourself. Feyenoord champions after six years. First of all, congratulations. Thank you. How does it feel? Feyenoord is a very huge club because of the fans, because of all the titles they have won. And now that I'm part of the history of Feyenoord, for me, it's amazing that you see Netherlands people wearing their Mexican flags, and it's awesome. It's amazing. Take this in the best possible way. You're very young. You're 22 years old. But I feel like I've seen you forever. You debuted when you were 15 years old at Cruz Azul. This season, your very first season in Europe, you scored 15 goals in league play. You scored five goals in the Europa League. Only Marcus Rashford scored more goals than you in the Europa League. Another three in the Dutch Cup. Yes. But in Liga Mequis, for the four years that you were there, some more years, you never scored more than five. What changed for Santiago Jiménez? I think with the last coach I had in Cruz Azul. Yeah, Diego Aguirre, the Uruguayan. He gave me like the confidence. He told me, OK, right now, I don't care what you have been in the last years. I want you to be the number nine of Cruz Azul, and you are the only one that can be in that position. I don't want to boy any striker. I want you to be you. And that, I think, I made like a change and I start like believing in myself and I said like, OK, right now, I'm the number nine of Cruz Azul and it's what I have dreamed all my life. So I need to be the best striker of Mexico and I started believing in myself and that's what I changed. I think then when I come to Feyenoord, the same, I think the same, I'm the number nine of Feyenoord and I need to be the best striker in this team and in this league. So I'm thinking like that and I think that helps me a lot because it gave me a lot of confidence. Before the game, you need to believe in yourself and you need to know that you are the best. Even if you are not, you need to believe it. And that's the most important thing that I think I changed when I was in Mexico and right now. You also had a very good coach in that aspect, Robin van Persie. He's a forward coach at Feyenoord. What's that like? Because I grew up a Manchester United fan, so I hated him when he was at Arsenal. But then he went to Manchester United and I love him. He's a very good player. Yeah, he was a top scorer, I think, of the Premier League with Arsenal and with Manchester United. He was unbelievable. And now he comes to the training sessions all the Thursdays or Fridays sometimes and he teaches us. We do a lot of plays. He gives us a lot of tips of top strikers that you need to keep it for life. Well, you were a striker, and you know that if you have Robin van Persie in front, you need to learn about and just try to do whatever he says because he got a lot of success being a striker, being the number nine of Feyenoord, Arsenal, Manchester United. So you actually, in your debut season, broke a record for a Mexican in their debut season in Europe. You broke Luis Garcia, who played at Atletico Madrid, and also Javier El Chicharito Hernández, what he did at Manchester United, 21 goals, you've already broken that, you're at 23. Have either of the two reached out to you? Have you spoken to them? Yeah, I speak a lot with Chicharito.
A highlight from Gab and Juls: The key to Inter Milans UCL hopes
"Hi, I'm Gab, he's Jules, blue skies, no actually cloudy skies over West London, possibly because Todd Boley is stepping back, we'll be getting into that, we'll be getting into the serious events in Spain with the racism, Tevas apologizing, we'll see if that actually leads to concrete action, we'll be talking about Brighton the Seagulls flying into the Europa League, how to start with the Coppa Italia, because Inter come back against Fiorentina in the final, and Jules, Lautaro steals the show, second goal I thought, especially special, but in some ways, given the way Fiorentina play, given the fact that they're so open, they're so attacking, Italiano, clearly an early pep disciple in terms of wanting the ball, demanding Is this foreshadowed in any way, how Inter might approach Istanbul? Yeah, I think so, I mean, there are maybe, you can find similarities between the way Fiorentina play and Manchester City, although City are much better team, of course, and they certainly defend better. There's a slight gap of quality. Yeah, and maybe of, no, so naive maybe, than Fiorentina in some aspect of the game, but Fiorentina played well, and they got the ball, they played with the ball, they created a lot of problems for Inter in the start of the game, certainly when they scored a goal, and it's a lovely goal, and then especially towards maybe the last half hour or 20 minutes where Jovic really should have scored one, maybe even two, but in between, we saw a very resilient clinical Inter, very well organised Inter again, that I think we will see exactly in the final against City. Yeah, you said the in between part, the fact that they got back into the game, I can give you the rightly credit for that. The last 30 minutes. What happened? Honestly, this is what would worry me if I were Simone Zaghi, because, you know what, look, City are heavy favourites for the final, but you can see a scenario where Inter find themselves in the lead. It's not impossible. No, yeah. But then at that last 25, 30 minutes, you can't, you suffer the way you did, you can't keep the ball further away from your goal for extended stretches. You're going to run into a serious, serious problem against Manchester City because, hey, guess what, it's not Jovic up front, it's Erling Braut Holland. Yeah, no, you're right. And to be fair, we've seen Inter controlling games well, especially against Milan, for example, in the Champions League semi -final, but we also know that Zaghi likes to pre -plan his substitutions, and then maybe sometimes not react enough to what's happening in the game because the plan is already in place and he's programmed everything, where I thought some of the substitutions, I mean, the way he managed that game yesterday when they were really under pressure, and they should not have been, I know Fiorentina are a good team, but Inter being 2 -1 up should have been more in control of the last 20, 30 minutes than what they were under so much pressure, and I don't think he really addressed it and responded to it, which again, if that happens against City, could be a big problem. It's an interesting one because when we talk about sort of pragmatic approaches, right, you talk about reacting to the opposition, and it's always a choice a manager makes, and generally the rule of thumb is if you're stronger than the opposition, you make them react to you and the other way around, that's the way it's kind of been historically. Inter are a more talented team than Fiorentina, but the fact is Fiorentina weren't going to take chances, and they were going to, and I kind of feel like you have to be able to manage that, you have to be able to kill that off a little bit. On the substitution, I think you hit the nail on the head, right, you knew what he was going to do, boom, Gallardini and Lukaku coming on. First of all, Gallardini after, I mean, maybe he wanted him to atone for his stupid red card at the weekend, but whatever, you know, he's going to be suspended in the league, fine, but the Lukaku for Dzeko thing, Dzeko not happy. No, not at all. And we saw Mancini, or sorry, Mancini, Freudian laps, we saw Simone Zaghi sit there and kind of like stand in front of Lukaku, of Dzeko, and explain why the substitution, blah, blah, blah. It's not good optics. No, and again, like, I'm not really sure it was the right substitution to make at that time either, and Lukaku has been very good coming off the bench for them, for sure, there's no problem, and his relationship with Lautaro is great, we know that, we've known that from before, before he left and come back, so okay, I get all of that, but not sure it's the right message sent to Dzeko to start with, who you would expect him to start in the final. This is the team that's going to start unless, of course, Mkhitaryan comes back and the brothers go back on the bench, you've got the team there, with Onana in goal, of course, and I just don't know, I mean, they won it, and maybe they have that know -how because they win finals, that's what they do, but you're right, a few things to be worried about. Alright, Joze, I want to bring up the subject of Lautaro Martinez, because in this inter -team, he's been on fire, really, the last six months, that second goal, and you can do the techers breaking this one, because what strikes me is the angle at which the ball comes, to see the ball coming in, to have the coordination to get your shot off so quickly, and it's not difficult technically, sorry, it's not easy technically to get that shot off, I don't think there's many strikers in the world who can technically even do that. And I've been very impressed by his finishing, to be fair, in the last six months since he returned from the World Cup, because I think before we could easily have said that talent was not an issue at all, but at times, maybe the finishing let him down, and we certainly saw that with Argentina at bay, hence why he lost his place in the team, there were other reasons as well, why Alvarez went ahead of him for Scaloni, but also I felt at times, and he's become so, so clinical, and he was in the final on Wednesday night, too, that second goal, even the first goal, but the first goal is more of a goal that you expect him to score, really, the second one is harder, you're right, 26th and 27th goal of the season, which again is back -to -back seasons with over 25 goals in all competitions, which is impressive, and yes, of course he plays with another striker, which I think probably helps him, than if he was on his own up front. But also means he's not the main offensive terminus, which probably hurts his goal total. Yeah, because he has to share, you're right, with a Jacob, with a Lukaku, with whoever plays next to him, Joaquin Correa, whatever. I really think that people undervalue him, and I don't really know why. I think if I was a top club right now, whether I play with only one up front or two, I would go for him, really, like for all the clubs who are looking for strikers, because I think he's that fantastic, and he's still young, and there's still room for improvement, and he's strong physically, and he can hold the ball up, he can do anything, really.
A highlight from Brighton's European Dream
"Welcome in to the latest edition of ESPN FC, I'm Dan Thomas joined the studio today by Shakir Hyslop and Stevie Nicker. We'll kick things off in the Premier League and what a match it's announced to be between Brighton and Manchester City end -to -end for pretty much 90 minutes, thoroughly entertaining. It'll be Phil Foden who'd open the scoring for Guardiola's side in the 25th minute and then an incredible strike from NC, so we'd see Brighton equalise just before the break. That guarantees then Brighton a place in the Europa League next season as they sit sixth. They can't be caught now by Aston Villa. For more on this, this is our comedian Kieran Gibbs to the show. Kieran, how good was this game? It was brilliant. Oh, what a game, what a game. But it was all about Brighton tonight for me, the performance typified Brighton season, European football, thoroughly deserved. And it's just a great football story. When you think about where they've come from, it's pretty remarkable, really. I mean, even losing the manager and the players that they have this season, you would have thought that they would have struggled. But the way they adapt and deal with things that are thrown at them, it's as though it makes them stronger. And these are the results when you have a pretty much thoughtlessly run club. They'll probably lose a few players next season, but I think if the recruitment stays how it's been in the last few years, they won't be worried at all. They've probably already been planning for it, but no, they've been a joy to watch all season. How open was this game, Stevie? Mental. There was no midfield play. It was basically one team goes forward and if they lose the ball, the other team is right. The plan is get at them as quick as you can. Yeah. So the thing just went back and forward. How it was only 1 -1 is beyond me. Both sides could have had three or four goals. But as a spectacle in a game as to what you'd sit, watch a game. You I don't think there's been a better game to sit and watch all season, quite honestly. That's a bit of a stretch. From the first minute to the last minute of this game. All right. Yeah. Absolutely. One hundred percent. Right. Try and pick up. It was a great game. Great game. Yeah. That has not been as enjoyable. He's just trying to wind you up, Stevie. He's just trying to wind you up. No, sometimes he actually believes what he says. He does. Real Madrid against Liverpool is similar in Champions League. Not from the first minute to the last minute. What's first minute? You were great for 20 minutes. You fell asleep, lost all those goals out. Well, not for 70 minutes. Let's talk about what City should do, Stevie. Now, obviously, they've got one game remaining in the Premier League. That's Brentford on the final day. And then it's the FA Cup and Champions League. Seven starters. I think when you take a look at the starting 11 from City today, you can say seven of them will be guaranteed to start in the FA Cup. How do you handle their fitness, their mentality, their everything over these next few days? Well, the first two things you asked me was the fitness and the mentality. Yeah. I would suggest that the fitness, absolutely 100 per cent, would be the go -to. Once he assesses and once he gets the information from all his staff, where everybody is physically, then
A highlight from Men in Blazers 05/24/23: Championship Playoff Special, Presented by ESPN+
"Playoff pod special presented by ESPN Plus and in a minute I'm going to speak to a remarkable bloke, you know him, Tim Ream, a gent who's played in incredible three playoffs in his career, been to two Wembley finals, that final. One game between two teams who finished anywhere between third and sixth in the championship and have grown their way through a playoff round to face each other, look each other in the eye in a match which is oft heralded as the richest game in football. Which it is because, well, a Premier League place is on the line up for grabs for the winner and that game goes on this weekend. Yes, this Saturday, May 27th, it will kick off exclusively on ESPN Plus noon Eastern time, ESPN Plus being that magnificent smorgasbord of football, the place to get all of your football coverage home to the best of La Liga and Bundesliga and in this case the mighty English Football League. Because this game, a championship playoff final, is the English League pyramids equivalent to a golden ticket to the Willy Wonka factory, worth anywhere, according to Deloitte, between $167 million and $328 million, depending on whether the team is able to remain in the Premier League past one season. And much of that is broadcast money, but I've been at newly promoted clubs in the weeks after they just clinched and you can hear the commercial department phones ringing off the hook because the team has just gone from the championship being of really local interest, a platform for local businesses to sell themselves to local fans. Anyone that's been to a game or watched one, you look at the hoardings, you can see the local taxi company, the local butchers chains advertising around the sides of the ground. But suddenly, thanks to one game of football at the end of an exhausting season, they have emerged anew and are suddenly of global relevance. Hence all those global gambling websites that suddenly try and flood in, put themselves on their jersey around the stadia. Back in 2021, Huddersfield's former commercial manager, Sean Jarvis, he spoke to The Athletic and he described this experience after he won promotion and he said, a whole new world opened up. The drive home from Wembley after we just got promoted gave me a sense of what to expect the entire journey. I literally didn't come off the phone to sponsors and advertisers. One call ended, another was incoming straight away. It was crazy. Everyone wanted a piece of the cake. So that is the context. The Premier League is exactly that. An enormous spotlight suddenly shone on the team, the town, the players, the fans, a global spotlight that will only be shone on the winner, the loser. They get a swift kick in the downbelows, a belly full of broken dreams and they suddenly turn back to the most brutal and competitive league in the world. Oh, the championship. So those are the stakes. And we have a game oh games this weekend. Coventry will face up to Luton Town. Trust me, this is a game that could not be more magical, really due to the two foes lumbering up to each other who are both, to be honest, fantastic stories in their own right. And really, I think they'd be the first to admit unexpected guests in many ways in equal measure. Luton Town, the Hatters who came in third, face up to Coventry, the Sky Blues who finished fifth. And the true wonder of this clash lies in the fact that this, five years ago, Coventry and Luton were playing each other in League Two, the fourth tier, deep in the bowels of English football. The Premier League could not have felt further away to the men playing football on that day and the fans watching. Yet on Saturday, the two clubs will meet up Wembley, that jewel of a stadium, and determine which of them will become the first to go from the top flight, once upon a time, down to the fourth tier and right back up. Luton, 30 miles northwest of London. It's a surreal spot. It really is. It's close to the big city. Yes. But it's a world away, a suburb, but really a working class suburb, a place most Londoners only think about because of the cheap flight airport that exists there. It's known as the team's nickname suggests for its historic roots in the hat industry, mostly long gone. And when I think about that place, I think of Philip Larkin's line, something like nothing happens anywhere. That could almost be the town motto. Until this. The Hatters on the brink of the Premier League, a team that play at Kenilworth Road, a ground that could only very generously be described as a stadium, just 10 ,000 seats. Honestly, Bournemouth looks massive in comparison. And away fans, we've had this all over our social this week, away fans enter this ground to a doorway jammed between two terraced houses. They almost have to climb over residence gardens to get to their seats. It's all so grimy and authentic and wonderful. And if Luton win promotion, they'll have to spend an estimated 12 and a half million dollars just to get it compliant with Premier League standards. It's truly crazy, honestly, to think that Luton, tiny Luton, could soon be coexisting with the nation states funded sovereign wealth for the likes of Manchester City and Newcastle. Luton's entire squad, the wage bill is seven and a half million dollars. That's like one of Manchester City's substitutes. And the last time Luton town were in the top flight was back in 1992. Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You is faintly audible all over the world. Bill Clinton had just been elected president. Jay Leno, young Jay Leno, debuted on The Tonight Show for the very first time. And in the intervening 31 years, that club has gone through one of English football's most soul destroying yet borderline miraculous journeys. During the worst period of financial darkness, they've gone bankrupt three times. They had 40 points worth of deductions for financial irregularities. They'd experienced four relegations and yet they persevered. Some slog up the levels. Successive promotions 2017 -18, followed by a second in 2018 -19, saw the club return to the championship after 12 years away. And this season, it's been propelled by bright, inventive management by Rob Edwards. He arrived in November after Southampton plot now meme manager Nathan Jones from their grass. And Edwards is lost just twice. Unfulled, careful, pragmatic, but intelligent and aggressive football. Used players like Midfielder, Pelly Ruddock and Panzu. He's been at the club all the way from the non -league days, along with loan signings like Aston Villa's Midfielder, Marvellous Nakamba, 27 -year -old striker Colton Morris is the star. Career best 20 league goals for him. And God bless the Hatters, a team for whom this is so much more than a game. Promotion to the Premier League has been linked to the development of their new stadium. Economic regeneration, not only for the club, but the entire town. Literally, optimism for thousands of Lutonians. Where for decades, that quality has been in all too short a supply. And our
A highlight from Futbol Americas: Chivas and Tigres to Liga MX Final
"Football! Jivas! Live and underway here on ESPN +, on a Tuesday I was given an extra 24 hours to mourn my beloved Club América and their ouster in the Liga Améquise playoffs. Alongside Hercules Gomez, I'm Sebi Salazar. Herk, hopefully you had a better weekend than I did. I know you did because your Tigres advanced. Yeah, both teams I picked advanced, so good weekend. Oh, okay. Somebody's feeling themselves. Lots to get to in this show. We will, of course, discuss Liga Améquise. We are also, Herk, going to cover the under -20 World Cup, the Baby Nats, as they're known. Baby Nats. In action today against Fiji. And one of the goal scorers in that game going to join us, Diego Luna, who we've, of course, talked about quite a bit on this show. So, big news, Herk. This show marks the return of MLS highlights to Fútbol Américas. Woohoo! Sí se pudo. We did it after a long negotiation. We finally managed to get the highlights here on Fútbol Américas. And how about this, Herk? Promotion and relegation could be coming to this hemisphere. Not the country, but the hemisphere. We'll talk about that a little bit later on. Let's start, though, as we mentioned, in
A highlight from Valencia Punished For Racism
"Welcome into the latest edition of ESPN FC. I'm Dan Thomas, joined in the studio by Shaka Hislop. There's only one place to start today and that is the breaking news. In the last hour we have learned some significant news regarding what we saw this weekend, the racist abuse that Vince Junior suffered in Valencia. The Spanish committee have decided that his body was sent off after the scuffle late on. That has been cancelled. More significantly, Valencia have been sanctioned with a partial stadium closure for five games. Now that's added to the news we learned earlier today that three people were detained and released related to racist abuse that happened at the weekend. And remember going back to January and the effigy that was hung ahead of Atleti against Real Madrid. Well today, four people have been arrested related to that incident. Right, for more on this, Pablo Zapoleta is with us. But Sid, I want to start with you. Have we ever seen anything like this before in La Liga? No, and of course one of the things that's happened over the last two or three years and has actually been repeated of course over the last couple of days is this idea that there isn't the power to take severe action. No powers have been changed and yet here it is. Here is the action that we've been told before couldn't be taken. The action to move against Valencia, to close that stand for five days for five games, albeit there will be an appeals process that can be opened and to make the fine of 45 ,000 euros against Valencia. Now that was done by the competition committee who have the jurisdiction for these kind of decisions. The competition committee is essentially made up of three men, one from the federation, one from the league and one from the Consejo Superior de Portis, which is essentially the equivalent of the Spanish sports ministry. And that move has been made today and that, to answer your question very directly, is unprecedented. So I ask you this Sid, it was interesting seeing your colleague on the podcast that you do with Phil going through the newspapers on Monday and talking about the fact that you had to go deep. 14, 15 pages, it was all about Real Madrid winning the basketball in Marca, which is the most significant sports newspaper in Spain. So the question I'm asking is what has changed? Is it the global pressure? People like us talking about it that has kind of forced the hand in Spain or have come to the realization themselves that something has to be done? There's a combination of a whole load of factors and I think I feel like I want to start with one man and that's Vinicius himself. And I think what Vinicius has done as he has decided that he is going to push this, that he is not going to back down, that he is going to see this through. And I think that has been a very conscious decision. Of course, in the immediacy of the events on Sunday, it's a decision driven by sadness and anger and a confrontation with the fans. But it's also something a little bit more conscious in terms of saying, I want to change this. I want to make a difference. And he is the one that I think has kind of forced us into this position. And I think it says an awful lot about him, the kind of the courage, the conviction, the willingness to stand up, the willingness to say, you know what, I'm not backing away from this. I'm going to see this through and we can talk about the changes all the way through the system. We could talk about the change tonight of the competition committee making the kind of decision that it hasn't made before the change in tone from a big part of the media, as you rightly say, the pressure that comes internationally, that sense from everybody that actually this is we don't necessarily like and we need to do something about it. Even from a purely cynical point of view, we feel the pressure now to do something about this. But at the heart of this is someone who has decided I don't mind the confrontation if it gets us to a better place. And I think in that sense, this is Vinicius is doing. This is the guy that has taken this on and really forced us to a new point, really pushed the, if you like, the barriers that were there before and said, this isn't enough. And I think it's really very, very significant indeed. And it starts with him. And it starts with one man deciding that he's going to take a stand and really trying to drive this through. If he didn't say anything, Jack, we wouldn't be having this conversation. No, we wouldn't. And to Sid's point, this is not just about Vinicius and what happened against Valencia. This is about Vinicius and the sustained attacks on him as a human being and how despite the league and the authorities not coming to his support, not coming to his defense, quite to the contrary, almost encouraging, or let me say not actively encouraging, but by not acting out, by not taking action against the racist abuse, have encouraged the abuse to only amplify. And yet still, despite everybody seemingly turning their backs on Vinicius Jr., he kept putting himself forward. He kept being the one to confront all the issues every single time they arose, never shaped the challenge. And that speaks volumes. I'm not sure I could have had the same resolve that Vinicius Jr. has. I'm not sure how many people would have the same resolve that he has shown over not just the course of the last 48 hours or the course of this calendar year, but almost from the time he first put on a re -amadrid shirt and credit to him, because now 48 hours ago we were discussing whether the league really had any authority to do anything, whether everything was just going to get log jammed in the Spanish court system, and yet here we are with meaningful action that doesn't solve the issue but moves the needle forward. And that's all anybody was asking for. Nobody was asking for perfection. They were asking for progress. And these are signs of genuine progress. Pablo, we know the weight that comes with wearing a re -amadrid shirt for any player, but for a player then to evite this sort of criticism under the microscope of the fans, of the media, of his fellow teammates, it's an incredibly brave thing he's done and how significant it could be going forward.
A highlight from Becky Sauerbrunn: Road to the Cup, Episode 2
"A goal, you're the hero. Whereas a defender, you're perfect for 90 plus minutes and that one back pass that gets intercepted and now all of a sudden, you're the reason the team loses. It sucks. It really, sometimes as a defender, you're like, why do I choose this? Why do I do this to myself? Joining me today, one of the greatest footballing leaders this nation has ever produced. And between the two of us on this podcast, we have won two World Cup titles, one Olympic gold medal and three NWSL championships. And anyone who watches a play knows who did all of the above because she reads the game as voraciously as she reads books. A courageous life force, as inspirational off the field as she is on it. Think Gloria Steinem and Carlo Overbeck if they'd been rolled into one. The best St. Louis in the export since Ferrotto's toasted raves. The pride of Ladue from your US women's national team and mighty Portland thorns. So people's captain, Becky Sauerbrew. I feel like whenever you can put toasted ravioli into an introduction for somebody, it's been a success. So well done, Raj. You know, I think people often ask what is the rise of the MIB media network being propelled by? It's been by my demand that we have toasted raves on every single introduction we ever do, no matter who the guest is. I mean, toasted raves, very St. Louis delicacy. Everybody should try it at least once for sure. Becky, we sit here 65 days away from the US women's national team's first World Cup 2026 game against Vietnam, July 21st here in the States, but actually July 22nd will be in the future down under. And can we get a temperature check? How would you describe the emotional state you are in this far out from the beginning of the journey? You know, I have to say it feels a little strange because we don't have a camp before this roster gets named and we haven't had a camp for a few weeks. And so we're very much with our professional teams, just training hard, playing all these matches with the thought and kind of that looming in the back of your mind. Like you have a World Cup coming up. Like you every single day are being evaluated and watched by the national team, whether it's through conversations with the coaching staff or it's film being watched or games being watched. And everything you do is being evaluated to make that roster. And it's so strange that you're not getting to do that in a training camp with the national team. It's with your professional teams. So you're doing two things right now. You're doing your best for your professional teams, but also trying to make that roster. So it's a surreal reality. I said far out in my question, but does that inject a sense of urgency, that kind of feeling knowing you're being watched, having those conversations with coach Vlatko and his team? Does this World Cup or World Cups actually feel far or from a footballing perspective? Do you feel the time running out? It actually feels close. Oh, it feels so close when you think about the fact that we only have a send off match before that first game against Vietnam. When you think about it, you don't even know when the roster is going to be named. And so that could be next week. It could be in four weeks. Like you really don't know. So everything matters. And so it's a little unsettling, but it's also supposed to feel unsettling. Like this is a big deal. Making that roster is a big deal. And so I'm OK sitting with it. I'm a little injured right now, which is unfortunate. And so having that also be something that is consuming my mind, yeah, it's unsettling times, I would say. You have, as you say, missed the last couple of thorns games with that injury. Nothing major, I believe, a minor foot problem. Let's tell America, nothing major. Everyone calm down. But tell us how you're doing. And does having even a small niggle so close, does it impact you mentally? You're constantly touching your foot, gauging. Does it hurt? Does it hurt? Or is professional recovery slightly more nuanced than that for an elite athlete? No, you'd be surprised how often I just poke at my foot thinking, oh, does that hurt more today or less today? If I were to deal with this in five weeks from now, I think from my perspective, I would be a lot more anxious and worried. But knowing that I have some time to kind of do this right and to make sure I'm progressing in the right way and I'm not putting myself at risk for like any soft tissue issues coming back, you know, I feel pretty good, which for me is saying something, because usually I'm like, I'm going to have to amputate my foot. Like, this is doomsday. This is terrible. I'm actually doing OK. My perspective is pretty healthy. Off the pitch, is there anything that you're doing differently now, like adding a meditation practice, changing your nutritional plan, daily visits to the cat cafe to ease tension? Well, you know, Tears of the Kingdom, the new Zelda game just came out. So I am playing that as kind of my my escapist. Yeah, make my heart and soul feel full. But other than that, I'm doing the same things just now. You know, I've got the rehab element added to it. But luckily, I always try to do the right things off the field so that I don't have to change much going into a major tournament. So just adding the rehab, getting my foot back into a good spot. I think they released the Zelda game just for you in this very moment. Sourbrew is hashtag team Zelda. Oh, very much so. And if they did release it just for me, you know, thank you so much, Zelda people. God bless you, Zelda people. For what you're doing for our national football progress. And I want to talk now about leadership, because watching you is always remarkable. But in this kind of crazy, surreal, they're watching us what watching each other try and compete, not in camp with each other, but, you know, remotely game after game, in which every kick means something. Every miss probably feels doubly agony. Every everything you always have had that ability to bring a room together. And we talked last episode how you, as your careers progressed, have enjoyed actively, intentionally the role of mentoring some of the younger players. And I read an interview recently where you talked about how one of the legacies you want to leave is being seen as a player's player. And it's a word we use a lot in football. We bandy around. I don't want to project. Becky, what does that mean to you, being a player's player? To me, it means that as a leader, as a teammate, as someone, you're just kind of going through it with this whole journey, that I am someone that players can go to if they need anything, if they need to ask any question that they know. If I don't know the answer, I will find the person that has the answer for them. So just someone that they can lean on whenever good times, bad times. That's what I think at the heart of it is a player's player. So are you in this in this buildup to the biggest tournament of all time? The black co -techs, the coaching techs are flying around. The messages are incoming. Are you actively seeking to support the rest of your teammates, especially the younger ones in between games, especially those who possibly could be going to a tournament for the first time? Yeah, I like to reach out. And after watching a game, if I see someone do something that I know they've been asked to do, either through their technical staff or even through their professional staffs. If I see them do something, I point it out to them. I'm just like, hey, Sanchez, like, what a great run. What a great shot. Trinity, you played amazing today. Like just making sure that they know that people are watching and people care and that I really care that they're doing well and they're showing well. So you are actively just dropping into people's text or is this group chat where you're just being essentially an incredible validator? I'm I just drop text every so often if I am lucky enough to see them because our team just played, getting to give them a hug and just saying, like, you're looking great, you're playing great. Just letting them know that, like, you got someone in your corner. Becky, I want that in my life. When I next use toasted Ravs in an introduction, I want that text. Great use of toasted Ravs, Rog. We all need that. We all got it. We all need that validation. But I want to talk more about your story and pick up the Becky Souraboon story in one minute. It's a part I love most about this show. But we do need to touch upon the elephant in the room almost. As regular listeners know well, you, Becky Souraboon, are a diehard Arsenal fan. And I'm sorry to bring this. I wish I brought this up when we last spoke when Arsenal was still top of the table.
A highlight from La Liga Reeks Incompetency
"Champions League lesser, of course, desperate in need for points to help fight relegation in the air in the unfinished Neil Neil Newcastle were absolutely all over Leicester for pretty much all of this game, but they couldn't find a goal in the end though it didn't matter because Newcastle qualified for the Champions League they can't be caught now by Liverpool. It will be a battle between them and Manchester United as to who will finish third. Well next, welcome here. Shall we? And donkeys with us then a couple of people flying the Newcastle flag, the mayor of Newcastle. I shot a hit song face here. I'm Newcastle of course, one of the 17 teams that Don supports so he'll be happy as well. Hey Shaka, good for your city. It's absolutely fantastic for Newcastle. Everything that this fan base has endured, one of the best fan bases in world, not just English football. And all of a sudden, new ownership, new manager, a relegation battle, some 12 months ago. I know Newcastle set to play in the chapters league. It's been some turnaround and in all honesty, one that you couldn't be more happy for a Newcastle regardless of who you support. First time in 20 years, Don. It's amazing Dan, and the third best team in the country, in my opinion. I mean, at home they've been sensational only arsenal and Liverpool have beat them at home. They're the third best team away form as well, sensational football. They score loads of goals. Well, I think the third or fourth heist in the Premier League in terms of their goals for it. And to be honest, when you're watching a lot of Premier League teams, in my opinion, Newcastle on the team you want to watch. And it's amazing how Mike Ashley, the former owner, never got the Newcastle fan, you see what the war flags company are doing, whether they're producing the amount of flags in the atmosphere. And we joke on and I say about San Siro, the other week blew me away, but English football, I think it's Newcastle out of flying the flag seriously for the best atmosphere in English football without a doubt in my opinion. How did you get San Siro into this already, Don? Atmosphere. I was at a sand serum banger. I honestly don't think there's a better place or better atmosphere than Saint James's Park right across the board in English football. I don't think anyone rivals it. It's a bit of a stretch to say there, the team you want to watch though, isn't it? When you've got size like Manchester City Brighton and arsenal, well, I mean, you cast the last time I checked, finished what Brighton. Well, just because you finish above someone doesn't necessarily play pets of football. While I would argue they do. Okay, all right, then. That's your pierogi attempt on. Ian quite the transformation for a site that was flirting, of course, a relegation last year. I mean, it's fantastic, isn't it? I mean, the key side that great place in Newcastle, that's going to be going wild tonight. They haven't been in the Champions League since the late great sir Bobby Robson was in charge and Alan Shearer was knocking in the goal. So it's a wonderful, wonderful night for a football crazy city, but I tell you what that
A highlight from Men in Blazers 05/22/23
"The PGA golf, the performance of Michael block, what a story. PGA club professional from Southern California. Just warms the hearts of millions, have beautiful. So Dwayne McNeil of gold, but this is our first. We really is like the first time we've used Dwight McNeil in a nice way in your life. Yeah, I'd used his nickname Dwight as opposed to his given name shape but this is our first part and we have to deal with the serious news up top since really American history. The American nation was forever changed. We kind of solved the next top American striker. Yeah, I mean, we hope so. We hope so. For Lauren balagan comes in to scoring for fun in the French league that he wants. Our nation, let's put this into context, who stood all the three goals total in the interior the last World Cup, one a good one, one off of politics, ball bag. And what a total fluke. Now have following balik and riding with us. And if the name is new to you, I'm shocked because it's been headlined. So it was in my New York Times front page above the fold. The 21 year old Brooklyn born arsenal bred striker on loan the season at rem, where he really just had a breakout season. At the weekend, he scored his 20th goal of the season and became the first U.S. men's national team play in history on nations history to net 20 goals in the top 5 league God bless you flow who tweeted yesterday. I love this. I really did. This gave me so much bloody pleasure. Today, I became the first American player in history. I love this so much to score 20 or more goals in a top 5 league without my teammates. This wouldn't be possible. And I know Jesus Ferreira is listening and no doubt you don't have to tweet us Jesus. We know you're smiling through this, but I read that and was like, I can't get enough as he as a newly made American, I can't get enough of following the use of the word American here. We are lucky to have balagan ride with us and I've talked a lot last week on YouTube in the reaction video that I made in on at least two podcasts I think about this news following baliga who could have played for England. Could have played for Nigeria, but committed to play with the United States ahead of the World Cup on home turf here in 2026, which I think is quite a draw. But what are you make of it, David? I mean, look, I'm not going to, I don't want to pour cold water on this because I do think it is significant. I think it's significant for a number of reasons. He obviously is the best possible striker. I would say available to play for the U.S. and that's who they've got. But we do tend to crown U.S. players before they've quite achieved what they need to achieve for the team that we're actually crowning them for. He has to put on a U.S. shirt. He has to score goals in a U.S. shirt and ligand is definitely impressive, but Jonathan David scores plenty of goals in that league. I think maybe even more than florin balagan. Lacazette, who I don't think many Arsenal fans were sad to see Lee arsenal has scored more goals in ligand. There are other strikers, it's not like Habib Diallo of Senegal, we're thinking, oh, like Senegal have got Diallo. This is a huge move for scored more guys. Let me just step in here because I know the other listens to the popcorn. If you are interested if you're American curious, the type of work. So yes, it's a big story, but let's allow a player to actually do it in a U.S. shirt. And then let's all get behind him. So that's probably the wrong way round. Hype trains don't leave the station like that day though, but you know I agree and I don't agree. I've got to say big picture in context, top line. It feels so bloody good to have great news, positive news, joyous news, emanating from our U.S. men's national team after the leadership conference of doom that we've been really just buried. Did I miss a leadership conference in the middle of that? I'm sorry, I might have missed it. That's a funny thing about balik and he didn't even announce it at a leadership conference at a family odd. I mean, probably going in this country. We go off the record at leadership conferences on the record. That's how we do it, but he is a super capable striker, make no mistake. Number two, in a position that cries out on the U.S. for a massive, massive upgrade. Balagan is a very good footballer right now. But I think as you're hinting, so raw still. So so much upside, we pray to come. I think that's the way to frame it. And yes, arsenal are probably going to deal in. It will be fascinating to see where he ends up over the summer. And he's not messiah. That we have to we have to acknowledge you. In the YouTube instant reaction video that are taped, I did talk about and I've got to say, I can't wait to speak to belly again because this story is amazing. I love this confidence too. I love. I love how much being wanted, both by the U.S. players who made that very clear on social media and the U.S. fan base made him ride with us bond on the YouTube instant reaction video that I taped. We have to be self aware, as you United States fans. By the way, as to say that, I'm completely aware that you're almost the worst offender. Well, that, yes, true, true, but we United States phantom. We dream so big. We've suffered so much. It's been a long time in the wilderness saying that we U.S. fans should be self awareness like me saying, you know, I should get into haircut. Maybe we just are the way we are, but we do dream so big. We do tend to ricochet between roughly, would you say two settings, David? Like a self destructive wallowing and utter sheer despair and the other mood we have is win it all, you know, way out of reality, overconfidence, give us the true fees now. Is that fair to say those are our two general moods? Yeah, these are two settings. I've got a name for both of them and weirdly the name is exactly the same and that name is roger. It applies to both. It's fair. It's fair. I do try and be a bit more nuanced here. I will say, we always want that silver bullet to flick the switch from gloom to glory. That silver bullet has a name. Its name is brick Shay. And football light life does not work like that. You only need to look at the career arcs of politic of geo of Tyler of western, currently segen dest, where we've seen soaring ups incredible moments and true moments of challenge, nothing is straight line. And I say that, as I say, let's welcome follow him.