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Christian Pulisic had a message for Mexico goalkeeper Memo Ochoa and after leading the USMNT to victory

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Christian Pulisic scored one of the most important goals of the United States men’s national team’s World Cup qualifying cycle on Friday night. In the most heated soccer rivalry America has, Pulisic came off the bench against Mexico to score the game winning goal in the 74th minute. The team would go on to win 2-0, and climb over Mexico on top of Concacaf’s standings. But that wasn’t enough for Pulisic, who after scoring displayed a shirt with a curious message on it. Under his official USMNT jersey, Pulisic had “man in the mirror” written on a t-shirt.

The message stems from something Mexico’s goalkeeper, Memo Ochoa, said in the buildup to the match. Speaking to TUDN, Ochoa said of the USMNT,  “Mexico has been that mirror in which they [the United States] want to see themselves and reflect, what they want to copy.” The remarks, as you might imagine, did not go over well with the American side. Head coach Gregg Berhalter responded to the remarks in his pre-match press conference saying that it, “shows that we have a long way to go to get the respect of Mexico.”

But it was Pulisic who had the last word. His goal fired the USMNT to their third straight victory over Mexico, the first time that’s happened since 1994-95. It’s also the first time that either side has won three matches in a calendar year against the other since 1937. After this result, it’s Mexico who’s left looking in the mirror for answers. Both sides will be back in action on Tuesday on Paramount+ as Mexico travel to Canada and the USMNT is in Jamaica.

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Chargers’ Defense Is Still Problematic Despite Week 4 Win

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(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

 

After a head-scratching 38-10 humiliation in Week 3 at the hands of the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Los Angeles Chargers were looking wobbly with a 1-2 record.

But they got back on track on Sunday by defeating the struggling Houston Texans, 34-24.

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Los Angeles’ offense looked strong, as Justin Herbert had his usual strong game despite fractured rib cartilage, Austin Ekeler had a total of 109 yards and three touchdowns from scrimmage and wide receiver Mike Williams had 120 yards.

However, there is still reason for concern, as the Chargers’ defense had some troubles against a Houston offense that is rather weak.

If they don’t rectify their defensive deficiencies soon, they could end up with additional losses in games they should’ve won, which could end up costing them a playoff spot.

 

The Chargers Gave Up Too Many Big Plays

Last season, when Los Angeles missed the playoffs, its defense was perhaps the biggest culprit.

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It finished 23rd in total yards allowed and 29th in points allowed, and its run defense was particularly problematic.

To sew up that hole, the Chargers went out and signed defensive tackles Austin Johnson and Sebastian Joseph-Day, and they also traded for star pass rusher Khalil Mack.

They also bolstered a secondary that needed improvement by bringing in J.C. Jackson, a young and rising cornerback who made the Pro Bowl last year while leading the NFL in passes defended.

But so far, all these new additions haven’t paid off the way many thought they would.

Through Week 4, the Bolts are 20th in yards allowed, 29th in passing touchdowns allowed and 30th in points allowed.

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After running out to a 21-0 lead on Sunday, they allowed Houston to get within 27-24 on the back of several big yardage plays.

One play that stood out was a 75-yard run by running back Dameon Pierce that resulted in the Texans’ first touchdown of the game.

Notice all the missed tackles and blocks on that play by L.A.

The Texans aren’t exactly an offensive juggernaut, as they rank 17th in points scored and 29th in total yards, and their running game is especially weak.

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But L.A. allowed Pierce to gain 131 yards and score a touchdown on 14 carries.

How much of this was its problems on defense, and how much may have only been due to complacency and inattention after running up such a big lead?

 

The Chargers Are Missing Some Pieces

The glaring absence on Sunday for L.A. was Joey Bosa, it’s four-time Pro Bowl pass rusher who suffered a groin injury in Week 3 and will be out for at least several weeks after having surgery.

In some ways, its defense was able to apply pressure on Houston quarterback Davis Mills, as he threw two interceptions and was sacked four times.

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Mack had one of those sacks, and he has been as good as advertised this season, as he is sitting on five sacks, five tackles for loss and seven QB hits thus far this year.

The Chargers seem to have the players they need to have an air-tight defense – it’s time for them to pull their full weight.

The post Chargers’ Defense Is Still Problematic Despite Week 4 Win appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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Women to get more rest between hoop games at next World Cup – Sportsnet.ca

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SYDNEY – Players at this year’s World Cup had a few concerns about the competition, including the compact schedule and the timing of the tournament, and the women took their complaints right to the top.

FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis talked with many of the players during the course of the recently competed tournament. He offered a quick solution for the rest concerns, but changing the date will take more work.

The next World Cup in 2026 will once again feature 16 teams instead of the 12 at this year’s tournament – and players will have more time to recuperate between the final rounds.

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“We will not play three days in a row, that will not happen again,” Zagklis said. “This is not something we want to see repeated. It’s too heavy on the players.”

At this year’s tournament, the quarterfinals, semifinals and medal games were played over three straight days. Overall, teams that reached the gold-medal game would have played eight games in 10 days. The 2018 World Cup had a break between the quarters and the medal round.

While the scheduling change is a welcomed positive step for the players, there’s still the issue of timing. The WNBA tried to work with FIBA by shortening its season. Still, the league’s playoffs continued until the start of the World Cup, forcing about a dozen players to basically travel a few thousand miles, get off a plane and start playing for their national teams.

Many European leagues tip off soon after the World Cup ends, so it’s difficult to move it to a later start date.

Zagklis said FIBA will be working with the stakeholders to provide the best possible solution for the players _-though indicating the change will likely have to come from the WNBA or the other pro leagues.

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“The World Cup is turning next year 70 years old, the women’s world has been there much before virtually every women’s league in the world and it is the top female competition,” Zagklis. “So the calendar starts again with the World Cup.”

USA Basketball chairman Martin Dempsey said there is a sense of urgency for FIBA to address the scheduling problem, especially with the WNBA set to expand over the next few years.

“The time to have that conversation is before it happens, not after,” Dempsey said. “So we really do need to figure out with the `W,’ the NBA and FIBA how to keep all of these enterprises viable because we don’t want to run the risk of creating a very diluted World Cup.

“We’ve got to have a really serious ongoing conversation about how to keep things in sync so that they don’t clash.”

Five of the U.S. players competed in the WNBA Finals that ended three days before the World Cup started. Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum and tournament MVP A’ja Wilson missed the first two games for the U.S.

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Before the scheduling change was announced, players made their positions clear.

“I don’t know if FIBA gave a damn about anyone,” Plum said.

“Rest would be a good thing,” Wilson said. “Having some time between would definitely help.”

The site for the 2026 World Cup hasn’t been announced yet and getting to Australia might have been the most difficult place for everyone because of its location.

Serbia coach Marina Maljkovi? noticed how tired many players were. She coaches in Turkey in the winter and said players across the leagues need a break.

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“You see a lot of players that lacked freshness. You can see it, any single team going from club season to WNBA, WNBA to national team,” Maljkovi? said. “This year it’s very, very complicated. … Talking to players, they really suffered this season because of the tight schedule everywhere. I guess there will be smart people who will sit around the table and see what we can do about that.”

Aside from the logistical issues, the World Cup was a huge success in Australia. The total attendance of 145,519 was the highest in the history of the competition. There were nearly 16,000 fans at the gold-medal game between the U.S. and China, which was the largest since the 1953 championship game played in Chile in a stadium that had 35,000 fans.

“By all metrics, we have seen a tremendous effort by the hosts,” Zagklis said. “Record sales in merchandise, record attendances, fantastic atmosphere in the games, so it’s hard to challenge the conclusion that we’ve been able to experience the best World Cup ever.”

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Trevor Lawrence’s response to bad game will say a lot about 2022 Jaguars

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Trevor Lawrence turned the ball over five times against the Eagles. How he responds this week vs. the Texans will be telling.



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