FUEL Soccer Talk: Premier League primer; SheBelieves Cup roster set; latest from the USL

Let’s kick around a few soccer tidbits!

Premier League race heating up at both ends of the table

The race for the top of the Premier League should be a fun, exciting and nervous time for fans of Liverpool, Manchester City and even Tottenham Hotspur as five points separate the three teams at the top of the table. Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea will slug it out for that coveted fourth spot as well.
This weekend was only a preview of things to come over the season’s final 12 matches with plenty of changes certain to come between now and May 12.
At the top, Liverpool ended its season-worst skid of two straight draws by dominating Bournemouth in a 3-0 win. But the next day Manchester City handed Chelsea a 6-0 loss, the Blues worst PL loss ever.
Manchester United, under the direction of club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who replaced former manager Jose Mourinho just before the holidays, continues its magical run with a 3-0 thrashing of Fulham to take over the fourth spot. United is the hottest team in league having racked up 25 of the last 27 points. Although, they didn’t look very good against Paris Saint-Germain – but that’s another topic for conversation!
What also is fun to watch in the PL are the happenings at the other end of the table as teams fight relegation. Huddersfield Town, with just two wins and 11 points, would need a miracle to stay up but there is intrigue at the other two spots.
Fulham, with just four wins and 17 points, is clearly running out of time to get things going in the right direction. But one point separates Southhampton, Cardiff City and Newcastle United for the third spot with three other teams (Crystal Palace, Brighton and Burnley) just two points ahead of the pack.

Who are your picks for the top and bottom of the table?

Ellis names 23-player roster for the 2019 SheBelieves Cup

U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named the 23-player roster for the 2019 SheBelieves Cup, which features the top-ranked USA, No. 4 England, No. 8 Japan and No. 10 Brazil. All four teams will be participating in this summer’s 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. Brazil, Japan and the USA are three of the seven teams that have participated in each of the seven previous Women’s World Cup tournaments.
U.S. WNT 2019 SheBelieves Cup Roster (Caps/Goals)

GOALKEEPERS (3): Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC; 0/0), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 19/0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 40/0)
DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 32/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 14/1), Crystal Dunn (NC Courage; 77/24), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC; 112/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 151/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 27/0), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 28/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars; 2/0), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 74/18), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 21/6), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 43/8), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit 11/0), McCall Zerboni (NC Courage; 8/0)
FORWARDS (7): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 143/25), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 266/105), Jessica McDonald (NC Courage; 5/1), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 155/98), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 108/47), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 45/13), Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC; 146/41)

What are the strengths, challenges of this U.S. roster?

Real Monarchs SLC Acquire Luis Palma

Real Monarchs SLC has signed MF Luis Palma on loan from C.D.S. Vida ahead of the 2019 USL Championship season, General Manager Dan Egner announced this week. Palma’s signing is pending league and federation approval and the receipt of his international transfer certificate (ITC) and visa.
 “Although he just turned 19, Luis has extensive experience with numerous Honduras youth national teams,” Egner said. “He’s no stranger to the professional game either, and we believe his transition to Monarchs and the U.S. will be seamless. He’s a technical player who will fit in nicely with the pieces currently in place, and he will be a big part of what we do in the final third.”
Palma, 19, joins the Monarchs from C.D.S. Vida in Honduras where he spent the 2017 and 2018 seasons. During his time with Vida, Palma earned 948 minutes played across 17 matches played. The La Ceiba, Honduras native started 11 of those 17 matches and scored two goals in his two years with the club. Palma has also spent time with the Honduran national teams at the U-17 and U-20 levels. He featured in the 2018 CONCACAF U-20 Championship where he played in six matches for Honduras.
The Monarchs will kick off its second season at Zions Bank Stadium on March 16 against El Paso Locomotive FC. In 2018, the team earned a league-best 13-2-2 record at its world-class Herriman home.

What team do you follow in the USL?

LET’S TALK: OK, now you’ve read what’s on my mind…what are your thoughts on the above or any other “football” happenings?

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