Let’s be honest, nobody at the just-completed 2016 Rio Olympics had more singular pressure on them than Brazilian men’s soccer superstar, Neymar. He was by far the biggest name that competed in the mostly Under-23 tournament and it paid off for his country as host nation Brazil beat Germany, 2-1, in the gold medal match on Saturday (5-4 on penalty kicks). I’m sure that his juggernaut club-Barcelona-wasn’t too thrilled that he played every minute of each game for Brazil, even in blowouts (not that they seemed to notice as they opened their La Liga campaign with a 6-2 beating of Real Betis on Saturday) but it was a pretty special moment to see Neymar fittingly clinch it all by knocking in the game-winning penalty kick.
Olympic Soccer Crowns First-Time Champions on Both Sides
Along with Brazil, the German women’s team captured its first gold medal in soccer as it defeated Sweden, 2-1, on Friday. Earlier that day, Canada had upset Brazil by an identical score in the bronze medal match. It was the first Olympics where the U.S. women’s team hadn’t won a medal which was a major shock (after they choked 4-3 in penalty kicks vs. Sweden in the quarterfinals) while another surprising result came in the men’s bronze medal game with Nigeria outlasting Honduras 3-2.
MLS Continues to Smartly Expand throughout the United States
On Saturday, after a long wait (they were initially awarded an expansion bid in March 2015) Minnesota finally got its own MLS club as the United (a North American Soccer League team) were formally introduced. Along with Atlanta United (I’m guessing that they’ll each come up with new names, hopefully), these two clubs will join Major League Soccer starting in the 2017 season. There are already 20 teams - which seems like a nice round number - but Minnesota and Atlanta figure to succeed at least initially since the markets that they are serving (the Midwest and South) aren’t currently overpopulated with that many other MLS clubs.
It’s a Good Time to be a Fan of Either Manchester BPL Team
Through the first two weeks of the Barclays Premier League 2016-17 season, it looks like Manchester City (2-0-0) and Manchester United (2-0-0) could be the teams to beat. Not only do they each feature two of the greatest soccer managers in recent history-Pep Guardiola for City and Jose Mourinho for United-but their deep pocketed owners have filled out formidable squads for each side. Lethal strikers Sergio Aguero (3 goals) of City and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (3 goals) of United similarly appear atop the table for goal-scoring, a trend that could likewise continue all season-long.