Lindsey Horan says she felt miserable when she caught COVID-19 late last year, but she's grateful it wasn't worse. The 26-year-old midfielder was set to accompany the U.S. national team to the Netherlands for their final match of the year when U.S. Soccer announced her diagnosis on Nov. 18. Now back with the team in training camp, Horan said she has fully recovered.
A look at what’s happening around European soccer on Saturday: ENGLAND After a six-game run featuring four losses, Chelsea's expensively assembled team has dropped to ninth place — 10 points off the lead — ahead of a London derby at Fulham in the Premier League. A 4-0 thrashing of fourth-tier Morecambe in the FA Cup last weekend allowed Chelsea to regain the winning feeling and saw Timo Werner get back in the goals following a 12-match scoring drought. Third-from-last Fulham is proving to be harder to beat than at the start of the season after shoring up its defence, and has drawn its last five league games. Fourth-placed Leicester could climb to second place with a home win over Southampton while at the other end, next-to-last West Bromwich Albion looks for a first win under new manager Sam Allardyce to move closer to safety. Leeds and West Ham host Brighton and Burnley, respectively. GERMANY Borussia Dortmund’s encouraging progression under new coach Edin Terzic (3-1 win in Leipzig last weekend was his third in four Bundesliga games) faces a test from Mainz, which hopes to leave the bottom in Bo Svensson’s second game in charge. Svensson’s debut was a home defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend, but Mainz has a good record in Dortmund, where it won two of its last three visits in the league. Despite the loss to Dortmund, Leipzig can move to the top for one night at least with a win at Wolfsburg, which has proved very difficult to beat this season. At the other end of the table, Cologne hosts Hertha Berlin for a duel that could have implications for either side’s coach, and Hoffenheim hosts Arminia Bielefeld for another game between struggling teams. Also, Werder Bremen hosts Augsburg, and Borussia Mönchengladbach hopes to follow last weekend’s win over Bayern Munich with another at Stuttgart in the late game. ITALY Promoted Spezia looks for a third consecutive win when it visits relegation-threatened Torino. Hellas Verona can move into the discussion for a Europa League spot if it wins at Bologna. Also, Sampdoria will move into the top half of the table with a win over visiting Udinese. FRANCE Defending champion Paris Saint-Germain will be without coach Mauricio Pochettino for the trip to an improving Angers side in seventh place. Pochettino has won two of his first three games in charge since replacing the fired Thomas Tuchel but he tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday and must self-isolate. Second-placed PSG needs only a draw to move above leader Lyon on goal difference. In the day's other game, Marseille can move up to third place if it beats rock-bottom Nimes at home. Marseille remains a title contender since it has played two games less than all of the other sides in the top eight and still has to host PSG. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
MANCHESTER, England — Heading to the second-placed defending champions in first place on Sunday, Manchester United is on a high. Doubly so. It's not just Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men leading the English Premier League by three points going into Sunday's trip to Liverpool. Casey Stoney's side goes to Chelsea on top of the Women's Super League by the same margin. It's a transformative moment for one of the world's most valuable sports entities. When United last won the Premier League in 2013, the women's team didn't exist. Even amid all of the challenges to revive the glory years under Alex Ferguson, the owning Glazer family finally invested to launch a women's team in 2018 and it's making rapid progress. After gaining instant promotion to the top division, Stoney's women are mounting a title challenge in only their third season. “It is great for Ole to be in a position he’s in, it’s great for us to be in a position we're in," Stoney said on Friday. “It’s more important about performing week in, week out so that we can sustain something, so we’re in a good position come May.” The team trophies are yet to be won this season, but the personal trophies are already being collected. Player of the month awards in both the men's and women's leagues were handed to Red Devils on Friday. It was the fourth time Bruno Fernandes has won the accolade since signing for United a year ago, with three goals and four assists in December alone from the Portugal midfielder. “I know people talk mostly about the goal involvements, which is very important stuff, but he is a linkup in a lot of other situations as well,” Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp said ahead of Fernandes taking on the champions. “He seems to be a leader as well. So, a good signing unfortunately — for United.” Winger Leah Galton went one better than Fernandes in December by scoring four league goals to propel United to the summit. Galton has credited the arrival of American World Cup winners Tobin Heath — November’s best player in the WSL — and Christen Press transforming the mindset of the team and giving them the confidence to attack and take more scoring chances. Galton had turned her back on playing for a time after making just one appearance for Bayern Munich in February 2018 but she was asked to join the launch of Stoney's team at United later that year. “I went in as one person and came out a different person,” Galton recalled this week. ”Casey said she thought she knew my potential and she wanted to invest in that, and that made me really excited to work with her because no coach had said to me before that they were excited to see what I could grow into. She’s stuck to her word." Stoney was also honoured on Friday with a second successive manager of the month award after three straight wins in December extended United's unbeaten run to 14 league games. “My players probably don’t see enough of soft sides,” Stoney said on a video call between sips of the Bovril beef drink. “They’ll tell you that I’m quite tough.” The former England international's first managerial experience came at Sunday's opponent, Chelsea, while also playing for the London club in 2009 — before the launch of the WSL and fully professional women's football in England. Now Stoney is trying to outwit the WSL's most successful coach, Emma Hayes, who led Chelsea to a third title last season. The teams drew 1-1 to open this campaign in September. “We managed to get a point when we were very thin on the ground," Stoney said. “We’ve now got more players to pick from.” Stoney regularly swaps ideas with Solskjaer, picking each other's brains on creating a winning culture and mindset around their teams. “We have a culture of high standards," Stoney said. “We have a culture of respect. We have a culture of togetherness.” When Stoney was tasked with assembling the team in 2018, Jose Mourinho was still in his final months leading the men in a period of turmoil. Solskjaer stepped into the job on a temporary assignment that became permanent but the former title-winning player has seen his abilities constantly doubted. Even after a 6-1 humiliation to Tottenham in October and a premature Champions League exit last month, United's decision to stick with a manager whose composed demeanour has replaced the bluster under Mourinho might finally be paying off. An 11-game unbeaten run has propelled United into first place for the first time this late in a season — after 17 of 38 games — since Ferguson produced United's record-extending 20th English title in 2013. After Klopp ended Liverpool's 30-year title drought last season, the 19-time champions are within touching distance again. “Our position at the moment is a product of all the hard work," Solskjaer said. “We probably deserve to be where we are at at the moment but I don’t think many would have thought another word for it than an upset if you go six weeks back (and asked) if we beat Liverpool at Anfield." No team has won in the league at Anfield since 2017 but United is also trying to extend Liverpool's winless streak to four games for the first time since that year. “It’s a test and reality check of where we’re really at because we’ve won many, many tight games, scored a few goals in injury time, showed that mentality," Solskjaer said. “We’ve not really set the world alight too many times." What would set the world alight is United in May being the first team since Chelsea in 2015 to pick up the Premier League and Women's Super League trophies in the same year. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Rob Harris, The Associated Press