The soccer news starts with Manchester City beating Manchester United 3-1 first-leg loss to Manchester City at Old Trafford in the first-leg of the League Cup semifinals. While it's tough to consider the League Cup as anything other than an obligation at this point in the season, Manchester City is a team that takes all of their competitions seriously. They showed this last season when they won the League Cup while under pressure in the Premier League and trying to navigate the Champions League. Add in lifting the FA Cup, and City went three for four last season while dropping out of the Champions League at the quarterfinal stage to fellow Premier League club Spurs.
If that scenario changed City's mindset about what the elite clubs can fairly call secondary competitions, it's not showing. City may have almost no chance of catching Liverpool in the Premier League this season, but they're treating the schedule with the same seriousness we saw last season. Trophies count for City, all of them.
"We played a really good game with a lot of passes from behind," City manager Pep Guardiola said. In the second-half they changed their shape with the diamond, and we struggled to keep the ball a bit more, but it is a good result. We knew it was difficult to control Rashford as they are so fast and that was our target today. In the last game we could not control when we lost the ball and tonight we did it better. In general, it was an incredible performance and just a fantastic result for us. Tonight we can be more than satisfied to come here to Old Trafford and win."
How much fatigue played into City's Champions League exit last season is a fair question. At the same time, Guardiola designs his team as just that. It's not a setup where he can sub out the spine of the squad and expect a result at any level. What City does best requires the kind of players they're one of a handful of teams likely to sign. It's not a plug and play model built to grind out results when necessary.
That's been Manchester City's issue in the Premier League so far this season. When their game isn't working, it allows the opponent too much of an opportunity. When it is, it's clear how much Guardiola gets right with his setup. That's obviously less of an advantage now than it was last season in the Premier League, but if City is in sync in the Champions League they could do what Liverpool did to them last season. The order of the trophies available to Premier League clubs isn't much of an argument. It's Champions League first, something clear to Manchester City, Liverpool, Spurs, and Chelsea as the knockout round begins next month.
ESPN's Mark Ogden with Manchester United's latest disappointment against City. The Independent's Melissa Reddy looks at how Manchester City took the lead in the opening leg of the League Cup semifinals. Football 365's Dan Bridges on playing the Supercopa de Espana in Saudi Arabia. The Telegraph's Paul Hayward takes issue with the number of games on the schedule.
Also in the soccer news, former Colorado Rapids coach Antony Hudson is the new coach of the USMNT U-20s. Hudson previously coached Bahrain's U-23s and then the senior squad before moving to New Zealand first with the U-23s and then taking over their national team. "I'm very proud to be joining US Soccer," Hudson said in a press statement. "It's a really exciting time with the game's rapid growth in this country and especially with so many talented young players coming through the ranks. I can't wait to work with them and help develop these players into contributors at the highest level."
MLSsoccer's Greg Seltzer lists the teams that have done the business in the MLS SuperDraft. SBI Soccer's Ives Galarcep with the best SuperDraft picks. Pro Soccer Talk's Mitchell Northam on Charlotte's latest hire. American Soccer Now's Brian Sciaretta talks to Christian Cappis, in camp with the USMNT.
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Logo courtesy of Manchester City