Welcome back, Mane Landers! We continue to get closer to the start of the season, though there’s still plenty of other soccer going on, thanks to the European leagues, and the U.S. national teams. There’s also plenty of off-season stuff we can continue to follow. For now, here are some things that I think were worthy of discussing.
The Gregg Berhalter era as USMNT head coach started with a stunning 3-0 victory over Panama on Sunday. Michael Bradley and Gyasi Zardes were in the starting 11, but it was all young guys on the scoreboard. Djordje Mihailovic, Walker Zimmerman, and Christian Ramirez all scored for the Yanks, with Ramirez scoring his goal five minutes after he made his national team debut. The U.S. was simply the better team that night, and while Panama isn’t necessarily a heavyweight opponent, the USMNT needs every bit of game time it can get — especially when the Yanks look good doing it. It was exactly the type of game that Berhalter and the new guys needed to start building the program back to where we all want it to be.
Serie A has it’s share of issues (mostly racism issues), but I don’t remember any headbutting. For that we need to head in to the third level of Italian football and A.S. Lucchese Libertas 1905 of Serie C. Lucchese manager Giancarlo Favarin ended up in a bit of a tiff with an assistant coach from the opposing Alessandria squad. To make his displeasure known, he smashed his shiny bald head into the man’s nose. Favarin was given a five-month suspension for the assault and for telling one of his players to break the legs of an opponent. One would think he was using hyperbole when he said that, but given what followed, it’s hard to say for sure.
The Orlando Pride released Poliana after she requested a return to Brazil. The ugly is her time with the Pride. Hopes were high when the Brazilian defender arrived, but she never seemed to find the form she had with the Houston Dash. The Mane Land gave Poliana a final grade of 3 for the 2018 season. That should give you an idea of the year she had. With Marc Skinner taking over at head coach, and the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup coming up this summer, it’s a good time for her to move on. It also opens up a spot for a player that might be able to contribute the entire season, and not leave for the World Cup.
Let me know what you think. Are you pro-headbutting? Anti-losing more Brazilians? Let me know in the comments below.