Oscar Pareja admires the fight Orlando City are showing as they prepare to welcome Columbus Crew to Inter & Co Stadium on Saturday.

Orlando are unbeaten in their last three matches, including a late victory over San Jose Earthquakes last weekend.

They are now within one point of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, sitting 10th on 16 points.

Pareja praised his team for being able to hold onto results in recent weeks, but he now wants to translate that into consistent success at home.

"I see a team that is growing," Pareja said. "Their confidence is growing.

"The way we're playing is much better in terms of efficiency on the other side of the box, and we're proud. The thing that we're most happy with is seeing them try to do the right thing.

"They've got through difficult moments together. The way they fight every single game is always the same. We're more knowledgeable now that we're getting results, but I haven't seen one game where they gave up.

"Now we need to go and do it at home in front of our fans. Nothing has changed, we just haven't been very good in some home games, but we will be."

Columbus sit five points above Saturday’s opponents, having won back-to-back games against CF Montreal and the Chicago Fire.

Going into the third of their successive away matches, head coach Wilfried Nancy hailed the Crew’s spirit.

"It's true that last year I didn't like the spirit that when we were playing away - it was not the same spirit," he said.

"Now, they try to play their game home or away. This is something that for me, this is growth. This is something that has been better."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Orlando City – Pedro Gallese

Gallese has kept clean sheets in two straight matches after Orlando managed just two in their first 11 regular season matches in 2024.

The Lions have never kept a clean sheet in three straight league matches within a single season before.

Columbus Crew – Diego Rossi

Rossi managed a goal and two assists in Columbus’ win over Chicago last Saturday. It was his sixth MLS match with at least three goal contributions (including playoffs) but his first with the Crew.

MATCH PREDICTION – DRAW

Orlando City have won just one of their first seven home matches this MLS season (three draws, three losses), with their six points won equalling the fewest they have ever recorded in their first seven home matches of a season (also in 2015).

Meanwhile, Columbus have lost only one of their last eight away matches in MLS (four wins, three draws incl. playoffs), including winning their last two in a row on the road. The Crew have not won three consecutive away matches in the league since a four-match run between August and September 2015.

Columbus knocked Orlando out of last season’s MLS Cup Playoffs with a 2-0 road win in the Conference Semifinals. That win was just the Crew’s second in their last 11 meetings with Orlando dating back to October 2018 (one draw, eight losses).

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Orlando City – 34.5%

Draw – 26.8%

Columbus Crew – 38.7%

Girona are hoping to round off their most successful campaign in LaLiga with victory against Granada on Friday, while Artem Dovbyk is in the hunt to finish as the league's top scorer.

Michel's team, the surprise package of the season, already know they will finish third in the standings behind champions Real Madrid and runners-up Barcelona.

Girona, whose previous best finish was 10th in 2017-18 and 2022-23, have clinched their place in next season's Champions League and simply want to enjoy their outing on Friday.

"Tomorrow the stadium will be full and afterwards we want to celebrate with our fans," Michel said on Thursday. 

"The best way to end the season is to win and make the fans proud, that's what we're playing for. We have to end the season in the best way possible, which is to win. 

"If we do it with two goals from Dovbyk, that's even better. We have a chance for him to finish as top scorer and for us to surpass 80 points. We will try to win for him."

Dovbyk, who has netted 21 times this season, is two goals behind Villareal's Alexander Sorloth and two ahead of Madrid's Jude Bellingham.

After enjoying such highs this season, their 24 league wins including thumping home and away victories over Barcelona, Michel has already turned his attention to the future.

"It worries me because we need to build a competitive squad for the big year ahead. I would like to keep a lot of people, but I know there are players who are not ours and who have to go back to their teams," he said.

"However, I think we will do things right and I am convinced that we will have a top squad that will be able to compete in all three competitions."

Frank Klopas and the Chicago Fire may not have to worry about demotion from MLS, but he wants them to adopt a "relegation battle" mentality ahead of Saturday's visit to D.C. United.

The Fire sit 14th in the Eastern Conference standings after losing four straight games, with three of those defeats coming at home including last week's 3-1 reverse against the Columbus Crew. 

Their current losing run is their fifth streak or four or more regular-season defeats since the start of 2021, though they have not lost five in a row in league play since 2018.

"The thing is trying to simplify things in practice, I think that's the most important thing with teams going through a difficult moment," Klopas said.

"The mental state of the team is obviously down. I think that's expected when you don't get results, when performances are not going your way.

"Even though there's no relegation battle in this league, we have to approach every game right now like it's a relegation fight until we can get out of this situation we're in."

D.C. are also looking to respond after back-to-back losses to the New York Red Bulls (1-4) and Inter Miami (0-1), with those results leaving them ninth in the East.

Troy Lesesne's team have won praise for their counter-pressing approach this year, but he says they still have plenty of room for improvement when playing on the break.

"No matter who the opponent is, we want to be difficult to play against and to break down, but we're also doing that so we can create," Lesesne said.

"We're top in the league for expected goals on the counterattack, but we have to finalise those situations.

"We're going to keep working on that, keep gaining those moments and keep improving." 

PLAYERS TO WATCH 

D.C. United – Christian Benteke 

Benteke has scored 11 of D.C.'s 20 goals this season, with no other team-mate netting more than once in MLS play.

D.C. United are one of two MLS teams (also the Houston Dynamo) to only have one player with multiple goals this season.

Chicago Fire – Carlos Teran 

Teran scored the Fire's only goal against the Crew last week and has now netted once for them in each of the last four seasons, making him the only player to score in each of the last four campaigns for Chicago.

The Colombian defender is hardly a goal machine, but Chicago will hope he can have an impact at both ends here.

MATCH PREDICTION – D.C. UNITED WIN 

Chicago's tally of 10 points through 14 matches in 2024 is their worst total at this stage of a season in club history.

Things may not get any better for them on Saturday against a team known for employing an energetic approach.

D.C. United recorded a 4-0 home win over Chicago in the teams' last meeting last September, and they are looking to post back-to-back victories over the Fire for the first time since a four-game winning run against them between 2014 and 2016.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

D.C. United – 47.7%

Chicago Fire – 26.6% 

Draw – 25.7% 

Pat Noonan says it was always just a matter of time before FC Cincinnati found their feet, as they look to set a new club record for successive MLS wins against Toronto FC at BMO Field.

Last year's Supporters' Shield champions have won their last six matches, equalling the best streak in their league history, which they achieved last campaign.

They trail Eastern Conference leaders Inter Miami by just one point with a game in hand, having turned their season around after a slow start.

Noonan believes time spent on the training ground, particularly with offseason arrivals, has been the major factor.

"I think it's just about the understanding of some of the roles. With new faces, that always takes time," Noonan said.

"We've had 13 or 14 games together now and with games and with time, there's better chemistry, better understanding of relationships."

On Toronto, he added: "It's been a good week for them, and I think in terms of structure and personnel, there's a lot of things that are similar."

Toronto are fifth in the Eastern standings after crushing rivals CF Montreal 5-1 in their last league game.

They followed up that win by beating Saint-Laurent 8-1 in the Canadian Championship on Tuesday, and boss John Herdman is delighted to see their forwards enjoying themselves. 

"They're just enjoying their football at the minute, really enjoying it," Herdman said. "I've got to tip my hat to the lads. I just can't wait to see this whole team playing together. 

"I think there are more levels here and I can't wait to keep pushing for them in the next three or four weeks."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Toronto FC – Lorenzo Insigne  

Federico Bernardeschi scored his first career hat-trick in Toronto's derby win last week, but then picked up a late booking that will cause him to be suspended for this game. 

Six of the eight hat-tricks scored by Toronto players in MLS have now been scored by Italians, with Sebastian Giovinco netting five. With Bernardeschi out, Insigne must step up.

FC Cincinnati – Luciano Acosta 

Acosta has contributed to at least one goal in a club-record eight straight matches, after recording a goal and two assists in a 3-1 win over St. Louis City last week. 

The only longer streak in MLS since the start of last season was a nine-game run by the Columbus Crew's Cucho Hernandez, from April to June 2023.

MATCH PREDICTION – FC CINCINNATI WIN

Toronto ended a four-match losing streak against Cincinnati on February 25 with a scoreless draw on the road. 

Cincinnati had won six of the previous seven meetings between the teams, in a run dating back to the start of the 2021 season (one defeat).

The Orange and Blue are favourites for this battle between Eastern Conference contenders, having won 30 of their last 49 regular-season games dating back to October 2022. No team in the post-shootout era has ever won 31 times in a span of 50 matches. 

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Toronto FC – 22.7%

FC Cincinnati – 56.4%

Draw – 20.9%

Nathan Byrne says Dean Smith's initiative of gifting players bottles of wine when they keep a clean sheet has provided him with plenty of motivation, as the Crown target a fifth successive shutout against the Philadelphia Union. 

Charlotte have kept four straight clean sheets in MLS play, playing out a goalless draw with the LA Galaxy last time out after wins over the Portland Timbers (2-0), Nashville SC and the Chicago Fire (both 1-0).

Smith has been rewarding his players for each shutout with a bottle of wine, and Byrne hopes there is plenty more forthcoming.

"It depends if you like wine or not, but for me it's definitely an added incentive. He's behind on his payments," Byrne joked. "We've got enough as it is.

"It helps when there's consistency and the same players learning each other's games every week. We have less individual duels as we can back each other up.

"If you play consistently, you're going to grow in confidence, especially when you're keeping clean sheets and getting good results."

Charlotte are sixth in the Eastern Conference standings, four points clear of eighth-placed Philadelphia. 

The Union ended a six-game winless streak by beating the New England Revolution 3-0 last time out, and coach Jim Curtin hopes that result will be a turning point for his side. 

Curtin said: "It's a justification for how hard these guys have been working, because we're still the same group right? 

"I'm still the same coach, these are still the same players. When they get confident and they get going, we can beat anybody."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Charlotte FC – Kristijan Kahlina

Charlotte have kept four straight clean sheets for the first time in club.

They are the only team to keep clean sheets in four straight matches in MLS this season, and goalkeeper Kahlina will be desperate to keep that run going.

Philadelphia Union – Jack McGlynn 

McGlynn (two goals, three assists) has contributed to at least one goal in five straight matches for the Union, equalling the longest streak in club history. 

He is the fourth player in Union history to contribute to a goal in five straight games, after Daniel Gazdag (twice), C.J. Sapong and Mikael Uhre.

MATCH PREDICTION – DRAW

The home side has never lost a match between Charlotte and the Union, with the Crown registering a win and a draw in the teams' two meetings at Bank of America Stadium.

Charlotte have only lost two of their last 26 home matches in all competitions, winning 14 and drawing 10 in a run dating back to late March 2023.

The Union, meanwhile, are unbeaten in their first seven away matches this season (three wins, four draws), the longest unbeaten streak on the road in their history.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Charlotte FC – 35.5%

Philadelphia Union – 39.3%

Draw – 25.2%

Manchester United defender Harry Maguire will miss Saturday's FA Cup final clash with Manchester City, Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag has confirmed. 

Maguire has been sidelined since suffering a muscle injury in training earlier in May, with the timeframe for his recovery estimated at around three weeks.

That meant he always faced an uphill battle to make Saturday's showpiece game at Wembley Stadium, though he was included in England's preliminary Euro 2024 squad on Tuesday.

At Thursday's pre-match press conference, Ten Hag confirmed Maguire will not be available but said Victor Lindelof, Mason Mount and Anthony Martial are in contention after being pictured in training.

"Harry Maguire is unavailable but the rest, all the players you mentioned, I think they are available," the Dutchman said when asked for a team news update.

"We have our final training tomorrow and then we have final decisions to make. But, as I oversee it now, it looks good."

Asked if Maguire's chances of featuring at the Euros were in doubt, Ten Hag said: "I don't think so. It's just he doesn't make it [the final]. It didn't heal as we expected."

Fellow centre-backs Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane are expected to be available, with the latter set to leave United on a free transfer after the final.

United have lost 19 games and conceded 84 goals in all competitions this season. They last lost 20 in a campaign in 1973-74 (22) and last conceded more than 84 goals in 1963-64 (89).

Ten Hag's position has been called into question throughout their miserable campaign, with reports on Thursday suggesting Ipswich Town's Kieran McKenna was a target for the Jim Ratcliffe regime.

Ten Hag, however, says the opportunity to win a second major trophy in as many seasons is his only focus.  

"It's all about trophies," he said. "We have a huge opportunity to win a trophy. 

"In the last 10 years, there were not many trophies in this club but we have an opportunity to win two trophies in two years."

Caleb Porter has praised the New England Revolution’s fighting spirit as they aim to turn their luck around against New York City FC on Saturday.

New England currently sit bottom of the Eastern Conference with seven points after winning just two of their opening 12 matches in the league.

After losing back-to-back games, the pressure is increasing on Porter, though he does not shy away from the hard work needed to move them up the table.

"This team is united," Porter said. "They're fighting. We're all committed to this club and this season.

"This team is on board. They're fighting. They're not happy with the results, but the locker room is together. The key is to win the next game.

"The other thing is, I'm not going anywhere; I'm committed to this club. I know where we're going to get to. I'm not backing down. I'm not wavering. I'm not flinching."

NYCFC sit in third, eight points behind leaders Inter Miami, after losing just one of their last nine MLS matches.

They made it three wins on the bounce with a win over local rivals Red Bulls last weekend, but Nick Cushing is reluctant to get too excited about their current run.

"We've won some football games, that's all we've won," he said.

"We're in a solid position in the league, but in four weeks’ time, I could be saying 'we haven't won that' or 'we should've won that'.

"It's about taking every game as it comes and just keep winning football games. We enjoy our wins, but we focus on the next games. Now, I want to win [against New England]."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

New England Revolution – Carles Gil

Gil has been directly involved in New England’s last two goals scored at home, scoring their most recent and assisting the other.

Overall, he is the club’s top scorer this season with four goals, twice as many as their next most prolific players, Tomas Chancalay and Giacomo Vrioni. 

NYCFC – Santiago Rodriguez

Rodriguez assisted one of NYCFC’s two goals in their win over the Red Bulls last Saturday. The Uruguayan (five goals, four assists) has been involved in half of the 18 goals NYCFC have scored this season.

MATCH PREDICTION – NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION WIN

Dating back to the end of last season, New England have lost 14 of their last 18 MLS matches (three wins, one draw incl. playoffs), including losing nine of 12 to start this season (two wins, one draw). The Revs’ seven points are their fewest after 12 matches of a season in club history.

NYCFC recorded a 2-0 home win over New England on April 13. However, they have never defeated the Revs twice in a single regular season before.

NYCFC have won six of their last seven matches (one defeat) including each of the last three in a row. They have won consecutive games away from home but won just one of their previous 24 on the road in all competitions (nine draws, 14 defeats).

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

New England Revolution – 41.2%

Draw – 30.3%

NYCFC – 28.5%

 Philadelphia Union have officially announced the signing of a contract extension with their star goalkeeper, Andre Blake. The new deal keeps Blake with the club through 2026, with an option for 2027, further cementing his legacy as a cornerstone of the team's success.

Blake, 33, stands out as the only player to have won the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award three times. Additionally, he is a four-time MLS All-Star and a three-time MLS Best XI selection, accolades that underscore his exceptional talent and consistency.

"Since joining the team, Andre has been a foundational piece to the club’s achievements," Union sporting director Ernst Tanner said in a statement. "He has shown himself to be one of the best goalkeepers in North America, and along with his proven sporting value, has taken on a leadership role both on and off the field. His guidance will play an important role in the further development of our young players and the team’s success. We’re happy to have reached an agreement to keep him here in Philadelphia."

Since being selected No. 1 overall in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, Blake has been a stalwart in goal for the Union, amassing 73 clean sheets in 236 matches. His stellar performances have been instrumental, particularly during the club’s 2020 campaign when they clinched the Supporters' Shield.

Blake's influence extends beyond club soccer. As an integral part of the Jamaican national team, he has earned 75 caps and often serves as the team's captain. His leadership and skill have helped the Reggae Boyz reach two Concacaf Gold Cup finals.

With Blake’s extension, Philadelphia Union fortify a veteran-heavy core as they aim for a seventh consecutive appearance in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. His presence in goal not only enhances the team's defensive solidity but also provides a role model for younger players coming through the ranks.

Blake’s commitment to the Union and his continued excellence between the posts signal a bright future for both the player and the club. As Philadelphia Union continue their pursuit of further silverware, having a player of Blake’s caliber and experience will undoubtedly be a significant advantage.

 

 

 

Greg Vanney is aiming to build some momentum for the LA Galaxy as they look to end a run of four draws against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.

The Galaxy are on a five-match winless run in MLS, with another goalless draw against Charlotte last weekend seeing them drop to fourth in the Western Conference.

After a run of four away games in their previous five outings, LA are now due to play four of their next five at Dignity Health Sports Park, which is also where they got their last win.

"This is a big phase for us to really build some momentum in all ways, being in front of our fans and being at home for this next stretch," said Vanney, as quoted in The Galactic Tribune.

"Obviously, we've got to go on the road once more, but hopefully build on the momentum and get some points."

Houston Dynamo have won just one of their last six MLS matches and dropped more points in a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas last Saturday as they sit eighth in the West.

Ben Olsen is upbeat about the Dynamo’s recent performances, though he admits they need to learn lessons from their recent results.

"The reality is the performances aren't necessarily resembling the points that we're getting," he said.

"We're actually in a nice rhythm of consistency. I know it's hard to say that when we're not maximising points, but the way we're going about the games is pretty good, and it's pretty consistent.

"We'll keep working at it. That's all you can do. What else are you going to do, quit?"

PLAYERS TO WATCH

LA Galaxy – Joseph Paintsil

Paintsil has contributed to at least one goal in four straight home matches (two goals, three assists), including recording an assist in the last three.

Only one Galaxy player in the last decade has recorded an assist in four straight home matches: Douglas Costa between June and August 2023.

Houston Dynamo – Ibrahim Aliyu

Amine Bassi scored his first goal of the season in Houston’s 1-1 draw with Dallas last weekend, becoming the ninth different Dynamo player to find the back of the net.

However, only one player has netted more than a single goal for them this campaign, with Aliyu netting four.

MATCH PREDICTION – LA GALAXY WIN

The Galaxy’s 0-0 draw with Charlotte on Saturday was their fourth consecutive draw and they’ve shared the points a joint-league high seven times this year. LA have drawn five consecutive regular-season matches only once before, doing so in May 2009.

The Dynamo have lost only one of their last six away matches against the Galaxy dating back to 2017 (two wins, three draws). Houston have kept clean sheets in each of their last two visits, and the only team to keep three straight clean sheets at the Galaxy in MLS play is the Columbus Crew, who did so between 2004 and 2006.

However, the Dynamo have alternated between wins and losses on the road this season, including a 1-0 defeat to Austin in their last away match. Houston have won four away matches in a single regular season just once since 2014, winning four times away from home in 2022, including at the Galaxy.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

LA Galaxy – 42.4%

Draw – 25.6%

Houston Dynamo – 32%

Vanni Sartini has no problem with Vancouver Whitecaps fans who wish to cheer Lionel Messi when Inter Miami visit BC Place on Saturday, but he wants his players to ignore the Argentine's presence and focus on themselves.

Miami are currently leading the way in the Eastern Conference and the Supporters' Shield race, with last week's 1-0 win over D.C. United lifting them to 31 points from 15 games. 

Messi has contributed 10 goals and nine assists in MLS play this year, and he is expected to feature in Canada despite sustaining a knock in a training session earlier this week.

Supporters' desire to see the eight-time Ballon d'Or winner play has led to some bizarre atmospheres since he arrived in MLS, but Sartini will not tell Vancouver's fans who to applaud.

"It's like going to the Louve and saying, 'don't cheer for the Mona Lisa'. Messi is an Opera artist," Sartini said in his pre-match press conference.

"I'm going to be more excited to see David Beckham than Messi… it's a generational thing. I hope Beckham comes, even my wife will be more happy if Beckham comes!"

Changing tone, Sartini said: "We cannot limit the danger of Messi and Luis Suarez. 

"We must prevent the ball from being passed towards them and we need to be in the right state of mind. Let's forget about Messi and focus on our own performance."

Vancouver currently occupy the final automatic playoff spot in the West, taking 19 points from their first 13 matches of 2024.

Messi's Miami team-mate Robert Taylor believes the World Cup winner has made the rest of Gerardo Martino's squad better this year, saying: "Everyone knows what he

brings on the field; he scores, he assists, he does amazing things on the field, he brings us results. 

"Then in training, there's this energy around the team, he makes everyone better.

"That's because of his personality, he wants to win every game – even in training – and I think that's been lifting everyone up a lot recently."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Vancouver Whitecaps – Ryan Gauld

Gauld scored a stoppage-time penalty to earn Vancouver a 1-1 draw against the Seattle Sounders last time out, and the Whitecaps' last five goals in MLS play have now been scored either by the Scot (two) or Brian White (three).

Inter Miami – Lionel Messi

Messi has failed to record a goal contribution on two successive starts for just the second time since joining Miami last year. 

The last time Messi went three or more straight starts in league play without contributing to a goal was on his first four starts for Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1, between September and October 2021.

MATCH PREDICTION – DRAW

Despite progressing in the Canadian Championship on away goals in midweek, the Whitecaps are winless in their last four matches across all competitions (one draw, three losses).

Miami, meanwhile, are unbeaten in their last nine, winning six and drawing three, though they were held to a goalless draw in their last road game against Orlando City.

Messi missed that Florida derby, though, and the Herons have won their last seven league matches when he has been named in their starting lineup, boasting an overall record of 10 wins, two draws and one defeat in 13 league games with Messi starting.

The Whitecaps, however, are unbeaten in their last nine regular-season games against Eastern Conference opponents dating back to the start of last season, winning four and drawing five.

The only team from the East to win in Vancouver since the start of 2021 was the Chicago Fire in July 2022. With that in mind, a draw could be on the cards on Saturday.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Vancouver Whitecaps – 38.5% 

Inter Miami – 31.7%

Draw – 29.8%

Despite his extensive experience and success coaching female teams, Xavier Gilbert’s introduction to the Jamaica Premier League (JPL) was expected to be tough, especially guiding a team such as Arnett Gardens.

Well aware of how most felt about his chances in the nation’s top-flight, Gilbert was determined to overcome the challenges of gaining experience at that level, and also prove his doubters wrong, and he did just that, for the most part. Though he didn’t lead Arnett Gardens to a long-awaited title –dating to the 2016-17 triumph –Gilbert, who is an assistant to senior Reggae Girlz Head coach Hubert Busby, believes a third-place finish was an achievement of sorts.

This, as it not only follows a similar outcome from last season but, more importantly, earned them a spot in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Caribbean Shield where they will challenge for one of two spots to the more prestigious Concacaf Caribbean Cup.

The “Junglists”, who placed fifth in the preliminary round on 49 points, hammered Waterhouse 5-1 in the third-place encounter to finish behind Champions Cavalier FC and beaten finalist Mount Pleasant FA.

“Pressure is natural, and it helps us focus on meeting our objectives. So, I saw that pressure as a positive motivator for us to attain our goals. We didn't win the title or make it to the finals, but finishing third and getting a spot in the CFU Caribbean Shield is definitely an achievement.

“The season was very competitive, especially between the teams in the top six, and then there were those teams that improved throughout the season. We prepared for all our opponents and gave our best each time we touched the field and it is just unfortunate that we couldn’t go all the way,” Gilbert told SportsMax.TV.

“I want to applaud the players, my support staff, management, and everybody, who played a part in ensuring the players were healthy and fed, the community and the fans. I want to thank them for their support and commitment, and as we look forward to the CFU Caribbean Shield, we just want to do well to ensure that we make it to the CONCACAF level to join Mount Pleasant and Cavalier,” he added.

Gilbert knew his decision to take the reins at Arnett Gardens would prove a sound one, as he made astute changes to their tactical approach along the way that contributed to his fairly successful debut season.  Still, the tactician credited the players led by veteran Fabian Reid and rising star Keheim Dixon for delivering at very high standards, so that he could realise his ambitions of keeping the team competitive.

“Every team offers a different level of competition and you have to adjust accordingly based on what is happening on the day. Sometimes you plan to play a particular way, but based on how things are unfolding on the day, you just have to change and make that adjustment and adapt as quickly as possible. That is among some of the things that I learned through the season,” Gilbert revealed.

 “Also working with the players was a major high point, the level of respect and professionalism that they showed throughout the campaign was great and that was a rewarding experience. Technically we played well, but the results didn’t always match our performances. So going forward we’re trying to learn from the mistakes of the season and hope to perform better in the CFU Shield and hopefully, the Concacaf Club Championships,” he shared.

Every coach has a unique philosophy, and for Gilbert dedication to hard work and giving people what they deserve are crucial factors for success. In fact, he was quick to point out that belief in teamwork and harnessing individual potential for the collective good are just as important and that is the inspiration they are taking into the Caribbean Shield set to unfold from July 25 to August 4, at a venue to be announced.

“Our expectation is to build on what we have achieved so far and finish in the top two and advance. We know it is not going to be easy, but the players are excited, they are looking forward to it and it is just for them to go out and make themselves, the club and the community proud. It is also a good way for them to market themselves, so I know they want to make the most of it,” Gilbert ended.

Lucas Paqueta has been charged by the Football Association (FA) over alleged breaches of betting rules, with the West Ham midfielder accused of intentionally seeking to receive a card in four different games.

Last August, it was reported that the FA had opened an investigation into suspicious betting activity surrounding Paqueta.

In March, the Brazil international said he was cooperating with the FA's probe and was "happy to be helping".

On Thursday, the FA brought charges against Paqueta, who is accused of attempting to get himself carded in four different Premier League fixtures, three in the 2022-23 season and one on the opening matchday of 2023-24.

An FA spokesperson said: "West Ham United's Lucas Paqueta has been charged with misconduct in relation to alleged breaches of FA Rules E5 and F3.

"The player has been charged with four breaches of FA Rule E5.1 in relation to his conduct in the club's Premier League fixtures against Leicester City on 12 November 2022; Aston Villa on 12 March 2023; Leeds United on 21 May 2023; and AFC Bournemouth on 12 August 2023. 

"It's alleged that he directly sought to influence the progress, conduct, or any other aspect of, or occurrence in these matches by intentionally seeking to receive a card from the referee for the improper purpose of affecting the betting market in order for one or more persons to profit from betting."

Paqueta, who has until June 3 to respond to the charges, immediately addressed them on social media, vowing to clear his name.

He wrote on Instagram: "I am extremely surprised and upset that the FA has decided to charge me. For nine months, I have cooperated with every step of their investigation and provided all the information I can.

"I deny the charges in their entirety and will fight with every breath to clear my name."

The news comes after Brentford striker Ivan Toney served an eight-month ban following his admission of 232 breaches of betting rules between 2017 and 2021.

Newcastle United's Sandro Tonali, meanwhile, is midway through a 10-month suspension for breaking the Italian Football Federation's gambling rules and was recently given a suspended two-month sanction over 50 breaches investigated by the FA.

Bologna have confirmed head coach Thiago Motta will leave the club at the end of the season, with the former midfielder expected to take over at Juventus. 

Motta has overseen an incredible season for the Rossoblu, who have clinched a top-five Serie A finish and Champions League qualification with one game remaining.

He has been touted as a leading contender to succeed Massimiliano Allegri at Juventus, after he parted company with the Bianconeri in the aftermath of last week's Coppa Italia triumph.

Motta's move to Turin now appears imminent after Bologna announced he would not be extending his contract on Thursday.

"In the past two years, I have got to know a well-prepared and winning coach," club president Joey Saputo said in a statement. 

"He has instilled a brilliant style of play in this time. Reaching the Champions League means he and all these players will go down in our club’s history. 

"I would have liked him to stay at Bologna but I can only ever thank him and his staff for these amazing two seasons and I wish him the best for the future."

Bologna face Genoa – with whom Motta started his senior managerial career – in their final game of the season on Friday, knowing a victory will guarantee a top-four finish.

Ciro Immobile, Manuel Locatelli and Marco Verratti are among the big names to miss out on Italy's provisional squad for Euro 2024.

Just 10 players who helped the Azzurri win the delayed Euro 2020 three years ago have been included in Luciano Spalletti's 30-man group, which will be trimmed down to 26 names after friendlies against Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina in early June.

Immobile made Spalletti's first Italy squad last September but has missed out on a trip to Germany after scoring just seven Serie A goals this season.

Verratti joined Immobile in starting Italy's Euro 2020 final victory over England, but he always looked unlikely to be included this year after swapping Paris Saint-Germain for Qatari side Al-Arabi.

Last September, it was reported that Verratti turned down a call-up for Italy's first two Euro 2024 qualifiers under Spalletti to complete his move to Qatar.

Locatelli is also excluded, having seen his international role diminished since the last Euros, but Juventus team-mate Nicolo Fagioli is included after serving a seven-month ban for breaching Italian gambling rules.

Italy begin their Euro 2024 campaign against Albania on June 15, before taking on Spain and Croatia in their remaining Group B fixtures.

They have the chance to replicate La Roja's feat of winning back-to-back editions of the Euros in 2008 and 2012, something no other team has ever accomplished. 

Full 30-man squad: Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris Saint-Germain), Alex Meret (Napoli), Ivan Provedel (Lazio), Guglielmo Vicario (Tottenham), Francesco Acerbi (Inter), Alessandro Bastoni (Inter), Raoul Bellanova (Torino), Alessandro Buongiorno (Torino), Riccardo Calafiori (Bologna), Andrea Cambiaso (Juventus), Matteo Darmian (Inter), Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli), Federico Dimarco (Inter), Gianluca Mancini (Roma), Giorgio Scalvini (Atalanta), Nicolo Barella (Inter), Bryan Cristante (Roma), Nicolo Fagioli (Juventus), Michael Folorunsho (Verona), Davide Frattesi (Inter), Jorginho (Arsenal), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Samuele Ricci (Torino), Federico Chiesa (Juventus), Stephan El Shaarawy (Roma), Riccardo Orsolini (Bologna), Giacomo Raspadori (Napoli), Mateo Retegui (Genoa), Gianluca Scamacca (Atalanta), Mattia Zaccagni (Lazio).

Ange Postecoglou has revealed Tottenham have a deadline if they want to make Timo Werner’s loan deal permanent.

The German joined Spurs on loan in January from RB Leipzig, scoring twice and assisting three goals in 14 matches in all competitions for the North London side.

However, Werner missed the last five games of Spurs’ season due to a hamstring injury he sustained against Arsenal.

Postecoglou admitted that he was relaxed about the situation, but whether a deal was made was out of his hands.

Speaking to reporters following their friendly in Melbourne against Newcastle United, Postecoglou said: "I think from our perspective, there's a deadline there.

"Again, a lot of that will depend on the negotiations between the clubs and how Timo feels.

"Again, from my perspective, I'm comfortable with that situation, and I'll let the other guys steer it to see what kind of outcome there is."

After a strong start to their season, Spurs eventually finished fifth in the Premier League, securing a place in the Europa League next season.

The Australian also believes the club need to bring more attacking players in as a priority to balance the higher workload next season after struggling with injuries this campaign.

"Yeah, absolutely. It's no secret [we need new forwards]. You saw the way we finished the season," he said.

"We obviously lost Richarlison and Timo Werner as well with injuries, but we're fairly light in that area.

"We started last season with Manor [Solomon] and [Ivan] Perisic, and we were quite healthy in that front third in terms of numbers, but as the year went on it became pretty evident that we needed to bulk up.

"We're in Europe as well next year, so we'll have more games, and it's definitely an area of the park we'll need to strengthen."

Page 3 of 1563
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.