Megan Rapinoe reacts to USNWT defeat to Canada at Olympics

USWNT star Megan Rapinoe has said it ‘sucks’ to lose to Canada in the Olympics, putting the blame on ‘too many errors’ the team made following their narrow 1-0 defeat at the semi-final stage.

The United States have struggled throughout the Olympic tournament this summer, losing to Sweden in their opening game, failing to beat Australia in the group stage, being taken all the way to penalties by Netherlands in the quarters and now losing to Canada for the first time in 20 years.

One pre-tournament headline that has since gone viral had asked, ‘Are Olympics too easy?’. Clearly not, given the difficulties faced by the underperforming reigning world champions.

A solitary second half penalty from Canada midfielder Jessie Fleming made the difference, with an ageing USWNT full of World Cup winners unable to respond.

“It’s terrible. We just didn’t have it today. Just too many errors from us again,” Rapinoe said, via ESPN. “I felt like the space was there for us to play and we just couldn’t get into it, too many touches or, you know, an errant touch.”

While the Americans lacked the quality when it mattered, a defensively resilient Canada made the most of their opportunity when it came from the penalty spot after a VAR review.

“That’s football. They got, I think, one shot on goal, a PK, and from what it sounds like it was a PK. So yeah, it’s a bitter one to swallow,” Rapinoe continued.

“Obviously, we never want to lose to Canada. I don’t think I’ve ever lost to Canada.

USWNT lost to Canada for the first time since 2001USWNT lost to Canada for the first time since 2001

USWNT lost to Canada for the first time since 2001 / Naomi Baker/Getty Images

“So it’s a bitter one. Obviously there’s still a lot to compete for. That’s what I told the girls and what we talked about in the huddle. It’s not the color we want, but there’s still a medal on the line. That’s a huge thing and we want to win that game, but yeah, this sucks. It sucks.”

It is the second consecutive Olympics in which the USWNT have failed to make the final, having been knocked out by Sweden in the quarter-finals in 2016. That was the first time they had ever failed to win a medal in 20 years of women’s soccer at the Olympics, although this time there is at least an opportunity to claim bronze as consolation if they can yet beat Australia.

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The best goals of MLS Week 16 – ranked

Week 16 has come and gone in Major League Soccer and as usual, we were treated to a ton of outstanding goals.

It’s almost become an expectation to see at least one ‘golazo’ in every game, such has been the quality of strike in MLS this season, and this latest round of fixtures was no exception.

So, without further ado, here are 90min’s top five goals in MLS from last weekend.

Though they ultimately collapsed and lost 3-2, Marcelino Moreno scored the second of two sensational Atlanta United goals away at rivals Orlando City at the weekend, putting his side 2-1 up at the time.

The Argentine’s strike is marked down to fifth purely because Orlando gave him the freedom of the pitch both when he drove the ball forward and when receiving it back on the edge of the box.

But there’s no taking away from the strike itself. You cannot give a player of Moreno’s quality this much space and the former Lanus man punished the Lions, unleashing a rocket into Mason Stajduhar’s top-left corner for his fourth goal of the season.

Paxton Pomykal has featured in every single one of FC Dallas’ first 16 games of the season and finally appears to be on the right side of the fitness issues that have disrupted his short career so far.

The 21-year-old took his game to another level during Dallas’ 2-1 win away at Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, opening the scoring within three minutes. Receiving the ball from Ryan Hollingshead, Pomykal opened up his body superbly to create the space before drilling home a deadly finish from the edge of the box.

That’s just the fourth goal of Pomykal’s senior career so far but if he can stay fit, it certainly won’t be the last.

Gustavo Bou has shown a complete disregard for the laws of physics in recent weeks, and we’re absolutely here for it.

The Argentine forward already has 10 goals to his name this season, with three coming from outside the box, and his latest – the equaliser in an eventual 3-2 win away at New York Red Bulls – will take some beating.

Receiving the ball in the famed ‘zone 14’, Bou rifled an unstoppable right-footed effort into the back of the net, with the ball smashing the crossbar on its way in, just as it did from a similar effort against CF Montreal just a few days earlier.

He may have been on the losing side this time, but Josef Martinez just loves playing against Orlando City. The Venezuela international has scored more goals against the Lions than any other opponent across his career so far (8), but this latest one was surely the best.

Starting the move himself on the halfway line, Martinez expertly flicked the ball to Matheus Rossetto before darting forward and eventually receiving it back from Brooks Lennon. Though the pass was slightly behind him, Martinez was still able to unleash a devastatingly accurate first-time finish into the back of the net via the inside of the post.

All that within 47 seconds, Atlanta United’s fastest-ever MLS goal and tied for their quickest strike in club history alongside another by Martinez against Herediano in the Concacaf Champions League back in 2019.

Let’s hope this is the start of a special run from an iconic player who has battled his way back from an ACL injury.

After scoring just two goals in 35 Ligue 2 appearances for Troyes last season, Rayan Raveloson has exploded into life since joining LA Galaxy in May, netting four times in just six MLS appearances. That said, he’ll probably never score a better goal for the rest of his career than the one he managed against Portland Timbers at the weekend.

With the score tied at 0-0 with 27 minutes gone, the Timbers initially looked to have cleared a Galaxy corner, but that was until Raveloson brought out the acrobatics to smash a stunning bicycle kick beyond Steve Clarke and right into the bottom corner.

Team goals are great, thunderbolts from distance, too. But everyone loves an overhead kick and when one is executed so perfectly, with no scuffs off the shinpad or bad goalkeeping, it’s hard not to just sit back and admire. Seriously, just keep hitting replay on the video above and enjoy.

Guido Rodriguez: Things to know about the Argentine midfielder

Argentina has a reputation for producing some of the world’s toughest tackling, no-nonsense defensive midfielders, with Esteban Cambiasso and Javier Mascherano two of the more recent examples.

These days the 2021 Copa America winners have Guido Rodriguez as their engine room enforcer, and the 27-year-old Real Betis star has been tipped for a move to the Premier League.

Liverpool are the latest club to be linked with Rodriguez, with reports in Spain claiming Jurgen Klopp wants to beef up his midfield options post Gini Wijnaldum. Arsenal have been linked in recent months as well, while Betis are said to want around £25m to sell.

Here’s all you need to know about the Prem-linked midfielder.

Rodriguez has earned 16 caps for Argentina thus far, making his national team debut in 2017.

He played a crucial role this summer as Argentina won the 2021 Copa America in Brazil, even heading in the winner in the 1-0 victory over rivals Uruguay – his first ever goal at international level.

As well as the Copa America, Rodriguez has collected a bunch of accolades in his career to date. He won the 2014 Copa Sudamericana with River Plate, and picked up the 2018 Liga MX title, as well as the 2019 Copa MX with Club America.

Alongside those, the 26-year-old won the 2018/19 Mexican Golden Ball for his performances, and is a two-time Liga MX defensive midfielder of the year. Not too shabby.

Rodriguez leaves it all out on the pitch when he plays. A tenacious and tireless worker, who thrives in recovering the ball at the base of midfield, halting attacks and showcasing his tackling ability.

He has been one of Europe’s top midfield tacklers over the last year, averaging over three tackles per 90 minutes, as well as more than 20 pressures per 90. He gives attackers no room to breathe.

Lionel Messi, Guido RodriguezLionel Messi, Guido Rodriguez

Rodriguez attempts to keep Lionel Messi at bay / Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

The downside of the Argentine’s passionate and high intensity game is his disciplinary record.

Rodriguez has picked up eight red cards throughout his career, four of which all came in the 2017/18 season.

In addition, he’s picked up 20 yellows over the last two club seasons.

Guido RodriguezGuido Rodriguez

Add Rodriguez to your transfer shortlist / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

For those who cannot wait for summer transfer windows and want to get to business, Rodriguez would make a shrewd addition to any FIFA Career Mode road to glory at 76 rated.

His potential is said to only be 78, but with a cheap transfer fee in-game and a modest wage, combined with a very healthy four star skills, he could be a solid coup in your push for European football.

Rodriguez was signed by Betis in January of 2020 for around €4m on a four and a half year deal, with the Andalusian club sticking a buyout clause of €80m in his contract.

However, Betis are not expected to hold out for the full amount should suitors come calling with La Razon reporting that they will entertain offers of €30m (£25m).

Tottenham have been sleepwalking into a Harry Kane transfer saga for years

It’s the day Spurs fans have feared most. More than Arsenal winning another title, more than Chelsea finding a new way to mug Tottenham off, more than Sol Campbell succeeding in any way, shape or form; Harry Kane is going on strike.

Well, ‘strike’ may be pushing the boat a bit. He didn’t show up for training on Monday as he looks to force through a move to Manchester City. What’s for certain is he isn’t committed to Tottenham anymore.

The news hasn’t gone down well with Spurs fans, who have immediately done a 180 on their stance of defending him to the death. There’s been little to cling on to for these supporters in recent years, coming away from Tottenham’s worst season in over a decade with only Kane’s individual awards to brag about. The club has hardly radiated pride in the last 18 months.

The top brass at Spurs only have themselves to blame. Tying Kane down to a six-year contract in 2018 seemed like a full-proof method of keeping him regardless of on-pitch fortunes, but they failed to realise that he could still kick up a fuss and bring the club into the spotlight for the wrong reasons. Almost every major decision made by the board ever since that deal was agreed has been the wrong one.

Not backing Mauricio Pochettino in 2018, failing to rebuild post-Champions League final, replacing Pochettino with a clearly past-it Jose Mourinho, letting the Portuguese tear the club down from the inside, the furlough scheme, the Super League… It’s all been too much – and this doesn’t even scratch the surface of gripes with the club even when Spurs were competitors.

Kane has often said in interviews that he would love to stay at Spurs as long as they were competitive, and when he signed that contract in 2018, it was easy to believe that would still be the case three years down the line. For it not to be is testament to what a resoundingly poor rebuilding job the club have done.

Daniel LevyDaniel Levy

Daniel Levy has a problem on his hands / Alex Burstow/Getty Images

Does that excuse Kane’s behaviour from a club and supporter point-of-view? Of course not. He signed the contract and should honour it by showing up for work. But the circumstances of which this saga have come about lead straight back to Daniel Levy.

Kane is still within his rights to do what he can to aid his career, to ensure he has a better chance of hoovering up team honours as well as individual ones. Tottenham are within their rights to demand whatever fee they like for one of the best players in the world with three years left to run on his deal.

But the genie that can’t simply be put back in the bottle is that Kane is no longer one of Spurs’ own, irrespective of where he’s playing come September.

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Lionel Messi reaches ‘total agreement’ over new Barcelona contract

Barcelona icon Lionel Messi has reached a ‘total agreement’ with the club over a new five-year contract that promises to secure his future at Camp Nou until 2026, by which time he will be 39.

Messi has officially been a free agent since the end of June when his previous contract expired. But, unlike last summer when he formally asked to leave the club, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner has been expected for some time to recommit to Barça.

Lionel MessiLionel Messi

Barcelona still cannot register Messi’s new contract until complying with salary cap rules / David Ramos/Getty Images

News filtered through in mid-July that Messi had come to an ‘agreement in principle’ with Barça, which includes a 50% pay cut in light of the club’s dire financial situation.

It was explained at the time that Messi fully understands the club’s position and accepted that, as club captain, he should be the one to set an example to others in the squad.

Since then, time has been taken to write up the contract in full ready for signing, with SPORT now reporting that the agreement between player and club is final and is expected to become official within a matter of days.

However, the issue for Barça president Joan Laporta remains sufficiently cutting salaries elsewhere to fall in line with La Liga’s salary cap rules and allow the club to actually register the new contract.

SPORT adds that Messi remains on holiday with his family and close friends Luis Suarez and Cesc Fabregas in Ibiza in the wake of winning the Copa America with Argentina earlier this summer.

Messi is not expected to return to training until he has signed his new contract, which puts additional pressure on the club to get the finances sufficiently in order to make it possible.

It is said that Barça are attempting to negotiate salary deferrals with Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto, as well as working on deals to move on Samuel Umtiti, Miralem Pjanic and Martin Braithwaite. Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho are obvious high earners to get rid of to bring salary costs down, but each could yet stay if they agree to significant cuts.

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