Jozy Altidore gets ready for World Cup with 2 goals

first_imgUnited States forward Jozy Altidore (17) is congratulated by Fabian Johnson (23) after Altidore scored against Nigeria at EverBank Field. Credit: Kim Klement, USA TODAY SportsUnited States forward Jozy Altidore (17) is congratulated by Fabian Johnson (23) after Altidore scored against Nigeria at EverBank Field. Credit: Kim Klement, USA TODAY SportsJACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It was just a tap from four yards out, but that’s all he needed. Jozy Altidore can now head to the World Cup without the oppressive heat of a 27-game scoreless streak, ending it in emphatic fashion with two goals in the United States’ 2-1 victory against Nigeria in Saturday’s final warm-up game before leaving for Brazil.“It was a wonderful message to see Jozy put the thing in the net. It gives him a big smile at the right time now,” coach Jurgen Klinsmann said.In the 31st minute, after Altidore slid a pass from Fabian Johnson into the left side of the net, there was no elaborate celebration or even a sigh of relief. He simply hugged Johnson and patted him on the head. On the sideline, Klinsmann raised his arms in the air and pumped his fists.In the 68th minute, Michael Bradley placed a perfect pass in the box, Altidore cut inside and blasted the ball pass the keeper. “World class,” is how Klinsmann described it.It had been 185 days since Altidore last scored a goal, and 239 days since he scored in a U.S. jersey. As the days inched closer to the World Cup, Altidore insisted his confidence wasn’t shaken. Even after the two goals, he shrugged off any suggestion of relief.“It makes no difference,” Altidore said. “I’ve had pressure since I was 16. It comes with the territory.”MORE: Five things we learned from the U.S. winAltidore, and his teammates, repeatedly downplayed the drought, as well as the boost of the two goals. “Anyone who doesn’t see what he brings to this team doesn’t understand soccer,” midfielder Michael Bradley said. “You can’t help but laugh when he goes through a few games and he doesn’t get a goal or two and people want to throw the rest out the window. This is a guy you want on your team every single time. The confidence in him has always been there regardless of whether he scores or doesn’t score.”Even so, Klinsmann, one of Germany’s great goal scorers, knows the impact streaks have on strikers.“It’s always a tough period when you don’t score as a striker when everyone around you lets you know that. So you get more and more anxious about the situation and you work harder and harder, which he did the last three and half weeks we’ve been in camp. You wish the moment comes, you put it in there and you start being yourself again.”Klinsmann also knows that streaks depend on confidence as much as opportunity. This time when Altidore got those chances, he didn’t disappoint. Altidore’s performance bodes well for the Americans, who leave on Sunday for Brazil. “We can’t wait to start that tournament,” Klinsmann said.“We kinda said to each other in the locker room, ‘The fun starts now,’” Bradley said.Saturday’s game was a sneak preview of what to expect against Ghana, the USA’s opening opponent on June 16. Both African teams have dangerous attacking players and speed but are prone to defensive lapses.Presumably the starting line-up will remain the same. Klinsmann veered from previous line-ups by starting Jermaine Jones and Kyle Beckerman in the middle. In the past, it’s been either Jones or Beckerman alongside Bradley. Alejandro Bedoya remained wide as Graham Zusi came off the bench.Klinsmann said that Beckerman’s specialty is to protect and cover his teammates on defense and his presence gave Jones the freedom to go forward.To advance beyond the opening round, the Americans must beat Ghana, given games against Portugal and Germany follow.  Klinsmann has even gone as far as calling it a knockout game.When it comes to scoring slumps and spurts, Altidore has mastered the extremes.During the 2012-13 season with Dutch club AZ Alkmaar he had an astounding 31 goals in 41 matches, a scoring record for a U.S. player in Europe. Altidore carried that momentum into the summer, ending a national team drought by scoring his first U.S. goal in 17 months. Another tear followed as he scored eight goals for the USA in 2013, earning U.S. Soccer male athlete of the year honors. That boom was followed by the recent miserable season at English Premier League club Sunderland, where he scored just once in league play.The Americans can only hope that Altidore’s two goals lead to another run. Especially given past history. The last American forward to score in a World Cup was Brian McBride in the 2002 World Cup.Even though this was a friendly, in front of an exuberant crowd of 52,033 at EverBank Field, far from a pressure cooker of an opening World Cup game, it was meaningful. Though Altidore said his confidence was never shaken, at least now it won’t be questioned.last_img read more

Football News Manchester United Beat Manchester City But Pep Guardiola’s Side Enter League Cup Final

first_img For all the Latest Sports News News, Football News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. Manchester: Manchester City booked their place in a third successive League Cup final, but made hard work of disposing of Manchester United 3-2 on aggregate after losing the second leg of their semi-final 1-0 at home. City enjoyed the vast majority of the chances on Wednesday but could not find a way past the inspired David de Gea and went behind to United’s first attempt on goal 10 minutes before half-time when Nemanja Matic fired home. However, United’s hopes of completing a miraculous comeback were extinguished when Matic was then sent-off 15 minutes from time and City held on to face Aston Villa at Wembley on March 1.United had a mountain to climb after losing the first leg 3-1 at home three weeks ago and were without top scorer Marcus Rashford, who played a big part in the Red Devils’ victory when they last visited the Etihad in December. City started like they did in racing into a 3-0 lead within 38 minutes at Old Trafford as they swarmed all over the visitors, who had De Gea to thank for keeping them in the tie. Sergio Aguero was first to threaten with a diving header that the Spaniard parried to safety before using his legs to repel Riyad Mahrez’s effort. Bernardo Silva flashed a shot across goal before more De Gea acrobatics denied Aguero again at his near post.The tension among the home support was eased when Matic finally paid for persistent fouling. (Image credit: Getty Images)United had not even mustered a shot in anger for the first 35 minutes, but suddenly the tie was back in the balance when Matic connected sweetly from the edge of the box after City failed to clear a free-kick into the box. The hosts did have the ball in the net before half-time when Raheem Sterling finished off a flowing team move, but the England international was denied his first ever goal against United by an offside flag.Missed Opportunities Hurt UnitedSterling contrived to miss another glorious chance to kill the tie off just before the hour mark as he rounded De Gea but blasted over with just defenders on the line to beat. Guardiola then could not believe his eyes when David Silva tried to tee up Ilkay Gundogan rather than shoot with just De Gea to beat after Harry Maguire was caught in possession. The tension among the home support was eased when Matic finally paid for persistent fouling when he chopped down Bernardo Silva to cut short a City counter-attack.Also Read | Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Believes Time Is On His Side Despite Manchester United SlumpAguero finally beat De Gea with a deft finish only to also be flagged offside as United salvaged some pride, if not their chances of a first trophy since 2017. United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has not been present at recent games as animosity towards his part in the club’s declining fortunes on the field has grown. However, Woodward was in attendance at the Etihad just a day after a hooded mob attacked his home with flares and graffiti.last_img read more

Striker Remy in talks with Liverpool

first_imgSee also:QPR chairman wants Remy’s future resolvedQPR boss dismisses Remy swap deal reports Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook Loic Remy is in talks with Liverpool over a move to Anfield.Remy, 27, joined QPR from Marseille for £8m in January last year on the understanding it could help him secure a move to a leading English club and he would be allowed to leave for the same fee if a top-four side came in for him.He has long been keen to join Arsenal but they have not made a firm offer, and Rangers chairman Tony Fernandes has asked the France striker to resolve his future sooner rather than later.AdChoices广告And with Liverpool interested following their recent sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona, Remy has been offered the prospect of Champions League football this season with last term’s Premier League runners-up.Remy spent last season on loan at Newcastle, where he scored 14 goals in 27 appearances.last_img read more

Ravens to rest Jackson, other veterans for regular-season finale

first_imgAWAY: Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Houston, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Washington, New England OWINGS MILLS, Md. — After clinching the No. 1 seed in the AFC, the Ravens will keep the expected NFL MVP and several key veterans out of harm’s way in the regular-season finale against Pittsburgh.Head coach John Harbaugh announced quarterback Lamar Jackson, running back Mark Ingram, right guard Marshal Yanda, safety Earl Thomas, and defensive tackle Brandon Williams are among those who won’t play against the Steelers on Sunday. At least a couple others are expected to be added to that list this week as Ravens players return to the team facility on Christmas Eve.With Jackson having already locked up the MVP award in the eyes of most as the only quarterback in NFL history to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in a single season, there was just no compelling upside to playing him compared to exposing him to even the slightest risk of an injury. For what it’s worth, more than three weeks lapsed from the 22-year-old’s final preseason snaps until Week 1 when he threw five touchdowns and produced a perfect passer rating.Acknowledging the balance between resting players and keeping them sharp for what the organization hopes will be a long postseason run next month, Harbaugh is choosing not to expose his best players to even a small chance of injury in a game carrying no tangible value to Baltimore’s Super Bowl aspirations. The 12th-year head coach has never been in this position before, but he rested multiple starters in Week 17 of the 2012 season after the Ravens had clinched the AFC North division championship the previous week and had only a small chance to move up from the fourth spot to the No. 3 seed in the playoff field.“I talked to a few guys on the plane. Marshal was the main guy that I had some time talking to about it,” Harbaugh said. “I feel confident that everybody is on board. I talked to the coordinators, assistant head coach [David Culley], and [director of football research] Scott Cohen was involved in that today.“It was pretty straight forward. It’s not really hard. It’s not a hard decision really if you really sit back on it and think about it. It’s a solid decision.”Veteran backup Robert Griffin III will start at quarterback against the Steelers, but Harbaugh left open the possibility of rookie sixth-round pick Trace McSorley also seeing playing time.Though many pundits and fans are referring to Sunday’s game as a glorified preseason game from the Ravens’ perspective, Harbaugh doesn’t have the luxury of a 90-man roster to navigate 60 minutes of play like he does in August. With only seven players deactivated for games, many veterans will still see action, but you’d expect workloads to be eased for select starters.“We’re very healthy, so that does bode well,” said Harbaugh, who added that the Ravens will play to win with all players active against the playoff-hopeful Steelers. “It will be an opportunity for some guys to play who have been inactive, so that’s a big plus for us. It gives some guys some experience, and we’ll just roll with it.”Harbaugh acknowledged there being merit to the other side of the debate suggesting a team already holding a first-round bye is in danger of losing its edge with too long a layoff from live-game action. It’s a fair concern that can become a self-fulfilling prophecy without taking the proper measures, but the practice schedule, mental preparation, and how players take care of their bodies over the next couple weeks carry more weight than playing an arbitrary numbers of snaps — and risking injury — in an inconsequential game that’s still two full weeks before the divisional round. In other words, there’s still much time to collect rust if you’re not managing those other variables wisely, no matter how you handle the Week 17 game itself.Harbaugh confirmed all healthy players will practice this week and during the bye.“Our goal is to be the very best football team we can become for that divisional game,” Harbaugh said. “We have a number of practices between now and then, and we have to make the most of every practice, every rep, every meeting, everything we do to be a much better football team than we are right now.”If the Ravens were unsure how to handle the regular-season finale, seeing Ingram exit with a left calf injury early in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win in Cleveland probably ended the debate.Harbaugh described the results of Ingram’s MRI as “good news” after the Pro Bowl running back suffered the non-contact injury, but his status will be one of the major questions going into the postseason. Second-year running back Gus Edwards and rookie Justice Hill will handle greater workloads against Pittsburgh, but the Ravens remain hopeful that Ingram will be ready for the second weekend in January.“He has a mild-to-moderate calf strain, so he won’t play this week,” Harbaugh said. “He probably wouldn’t play this week no matter what the circumstance was with that calf strain. We’d be looking for him to be ready in two weeks, so we’ll see how that goes going forward.”2020 opponents revealedWith first place in each of the four AFC divisions now decided, the Ravens’ slate of 2020 opponents has been finalized.Already scheduled to play the entire AFC South and NFC East divisions next season, Baltimore officially learned it will host AFC West champion Kansas City and travel to AFC East-winning New England.HOME: Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Dallas, New York Giants, Kansas Citylast_img read more

Three Capitals to represent Russia in 2014 IIHF World Championship

first_imgDmitry Orlov has been a bright spot for the Capitals this year.The Washington Capitals will be well represented in the 2014 IIHF World Championship. Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov will be representing team Russia in the tournament.  Troy Brouwer, Joel Ward and Jason Chimera will be representing Canada in the tournament, that story can be found here.Here is the Capitals press release. Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and Orlov to Represent Russia at 2014 IIHF World ChampionshipPosted on May 06, 2014 by Caps PRARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals forwards Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov and defenseman Dmitry Orlov will represent Russia at the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Minsk, Belarus. The World Championship begins on May 9 and concludes on May 25.Ovechkin, 28, will be making his 10th World Championship appearance and will serve as the team’s captain. The Moscow native has registered 46 points (27 goals, 19 assists) in 56 career games at the World Championship and captured a gold medal with Russia in 2008 and 2012. Ovechkin was named to the tournament’s Media All-Star Team in 2006 and 2008, won a silver medal in 2010 and a bronze medal in 2005 and 2007. Ovechkin has represented Russia in three Olympics (2006, 2010, 2014), three World Junior Championships (2003, 2004, 2005), nine World Championships (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) and the World Cup of Hockey (2004).This season, Ovechkin scored 51 goals to capture his second consecutive and fourth career Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s leading goal-scorer. Ovechkin won the award previously in 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2012-13. He became the 11th player in NHL history to record five 50-goal seasons and just the fifth to do so in his first nine seasons, following Mike Bossy (9), Wayne Gretzky (8), Guy Lafleur (6) and Brett Hull (5). Ovechkin registered his third career four-goal game on Dec. 10 against Tampa Bay and scored his 400th goal Dec. 20, becoming the sixth-fastest player in NHL history (and seventh-youngest) to achieve the milestone (634 games played). The 6’3”, 235-pound forward led the League with 24 power-play goals, marking a franchise record and the most by any player since Steven Stamkos scored 24 in 2009-10. Since entering the NHL at the beginning of the 2005-06 season, Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals (422), points (814), power-play goals (151) and game-winning goals (69).Kuznetsov, 21, will be making his third World Championship appearance. The Chelyabinsk, Russia, native has recorded seven points (three goals, four assists) in 13 games at the tournament and won a gold medal with Russia in 2012. Kuznetsov has represented Russia at two World Championships (2012, 2013), two World Junior Championships (2011, 2012) and two World U18 Championships (2009, 2010). The 6’3”, 187-pound forward made his NHL debut with the Capitals this season on March 10 against Pittsburgh and earned his first NHL points with three assists on March 14 against Vancouver. Kuznetsov became the first NHL rookie since Anze Kopitar in 2006 to record three or more assists in one of his first three NHL games. In 17 career NHL games, Kuznetsov has tallied nine points (three goals, six assists).Orlov, 22, will represent Russia at the World Championship for the first time. Orlov has represented Russia at two World Junior Championships (2010, 2011) and two World U18 Championships (2008, 2009). The Novokuznetsk, Russia, native won a gold medal at the 2011 World Junior Championship and was named to the Media All-Star team. Orlov played in 54 games with the Capitals this season, registering 11 points (three goals, eight assists).Please follow and like us:last_img read more