Somewhat lost amid all the predictable mishaps in the early going of the sure to be disastrous Rio Olympics, the 2016-17 European soccer season is already upon us! On Sunday afternoon, Manchester United beat the defending BPL champion Leicester City 2-1 at Wembley Stadium in the Community Shield (the annual opening match to every BPL season) thanks to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s game-winning goal in the 83rd minute. The best soccer league in the world (at least in my opinion) gets fully underway this weekend with seven matches on Saturday, two on Sunday and one on Monday so it is time to get your Fantasy BPL leagues and pools set up.
Pogba’s Situation Finally Appears to be Settled at Manchester United
Speaking of Manchester United-or as I call them, the Yankees of BPL-French midfielder Paul Pogba has mercifully agreed to a world-record transfer fee of $116 million to re-join his former club. He had a nice showing for France at Euro 2016 earlier this summer and he’s still only 23 but is he deserving of that enormous contract that took forever to finalize? No but as they say, you are worth whatever someone is willing to pay you so in this case he cashes in while Manchester United tries to reclaim its old glory under its shiny new manager Jose Mourinho.
USMNT Players Continue to Return Home, Which is Not a Good Thing
He’s not one of their top players but if you’ve been paying close attention the last few years, you’ve probably noticed that midfielder Alejandro Bedoya has carved out a starting spot and decent role on the U.S. men’s national team. That’s why last week’s news that he was joining the Philadelphia Union (MLS) for a reported $1 million transfer fee was met with my usual sense of disappointment whenever American players that aren’t washed up choose MLS over a European league (in his case France since his last team was Nantes). While it’s true that Major League Soccer is constantly getting better, it still doesn’t measure up to most European Leagues so in turn our USMNT is unlikely to get much better anytime soon with so many of their important players not really challenging themselves on their club teams.
USWNT’s Best Players Have Carried Them So Far in Rio
Through two games, the U.S. women have clinically disposed of both New Zealand (2-0) and France (1-0). Midfielder Carli Lloyd had a goal in each match, Alex Morgan scored against New Zealand and Hope Solo, aka Ms. Zika Virus, owns a pair of shutouts. The U.S. already has clinched a spot in the quarterfinals so Tuesday’s (6 p.m., NBCSN) meeting with Colombia (0-2-0) is basically a tune up, regardless the Americans are still the team to beat as they try to become the first women’s team to win the World Cup then the Olympics in consecutive years.
Follow Metro soccer writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate