New Caledonia 0-0 New Zealand
A scoreless draw suits New Zealand just fine here. They took four points from this home and home with New Caledonia and have a home and home with Fiji coming up. That should bag them at least four, if not six, points. That should be more than enough to send them through to a playoff with Group B's winner with the right to be Oceania's half representative in the World Cup on the line.
We begins with a couple updates from yesterday's stories. First, while yesterday it was just speculation, today we know that Tim Howard will be out for four months. The injury has been described as "a fracture of the right adductor longus" that was suffered while taking a goal kick agaisnt Mexico. It will require surgery to repair. At first glance, this seems like a disaster for Colorado. However, Zac MacMath is a perfectly capable backup who helped the Rapids to the second best record in MLS before Howard came onto the scene.
Next, Gareth Southgate was hoping to learn his fate for the England managerial job within a month. It turns out he could be offered the permanent job after today's friendly against Spain. Southgate has been in charge since Sam Allardyce was unceremoniously cast off thanks to him talking to fake Asian investors about illegal player investment schemes. He appears to have impressed enough during his interim run to earn him a £1.5 million per year deal to see England into the future.
Speaking of European friendlies, instant replay is going to be on trial during the Italy-Germany game today. It will be given a semi-live trial during the match to review goals, penalties, red cards, and cases of mistaken identity. The procedure will not include the referee watching plays on a monitor at ground level. It will be handled entirely by a pair of assistant referees in a booth. This is the second international match to try the technology. It was first used when France played Italy back in September. A final decision on the fate of replay should come before 2018, in time for the next World Cup.
Benny Feilhaber is expected to re-sign with Sporting Kansas City. Feilhaber was set to become a free agent once his contract expires, but will instead remain with the club for a salary between $500,000 and $600,000. This does take him into designated player territory, but with Graham Zusi, Diego Rubio, and Roger Espinoza taking up SKC's three DP slots, it's likely that they will use Targeted Allocation Money to buy down the contract.
Frank Lampard apparently has a gig if he decides to retire at season's end. Chelsea have offered him some sort of job with the club in the event he decides to hang up his boots. No specific role was given, but it could be a coaching job, some form of ambassadorial role, or even something within the front office. Lampard arrived at New York City FC in the summer of 2015 after spending 14 years with Chelsea and one with Manchester City. He really came alive towards the middle and end of this season, scoring 12 goals this season after missing the first parts with injury.
World Cup Qualifying- CONMEBOL
Bolivia v. Paraguay- 3pm- beIN
Ecuador v. Venezuela- 4pm
Argentina v. Colombia- 6:30pm
Chile v. Uruguay- 6:30pm- beIN
Peru v. Brazil- 9:15pm
World Cup Qualifying- CONCACAF
Honduras v. Trinidad and Tobago- 5:05pm
Panama v. Mexico- 9:05pm
Costa Rica v. United States- 9:05pm- beIN
World Cup Qualifying- AFC
Japan v. Saudi Arabia- 5:35am- ESPN3
South Korea v. Uzbekistan- 6am- ESPN3
China v. Qatar- 6:35am
Syria v. Iran- 7am- ESPN3
Thailand v. Australia- 7am
United Arab Emirates v. Iraq- 12:20am
50,000 Words of Soccer Update
This post and the article about the Rapids linked above take the word count up to 21,124.