Michelle Kaufman

Michelle Kaufman: Weston’s Alejandro Bedoya the hero for Nantes in Coupe de France

In this Oct. 10, 2014 file photo, United States' Alejandro Bedoya dribbles the ball during an exhibition soccer match against Ecuador in East Hartford, Conn.
In this Oct. 10, 2014 file photo, United States' Alejandro Bedoya dribbles the ball during an exhibition soccer match against Ecuador in East Hartford, Conn. AP

Alejandro Bedoya c’est magnifique!

The Weston native and U.S. national team midfielder was the toast of Nantes, France, last week after scoring the game-winning goal in extra time to clinch a 4-3 victory over Bordeaux and send his team to the quarterfinals of the Coupe de France.

Bedoya entered the match in the 108th minute and scored with a back-post header 10 minutes later.

After he scored, he was swarmed by his teammates.

It was Bedoya’s fourth goal in the past six games and the second in a row in extra time. In the previous round of the tournament, he came off the bench in the 105th minute and scored the winner a few seconds later for a 1-0 victory over Mantes 78.

Bedoya had been in a scoring drought since April 25 of last year, so his recent hot streak is big news in France.

“I’m certainly happy with how 2016 has started,” Bedoya said by phone from France. “The Christmas winter break gave me a chance to recover physically and mentally after a tough ending to 2015. I have been feeling a lot better since, and it has shown since the league started back up again. There’s nothing like scoring and assisting, and I’m just happy I’m able to contribute to the team and help us on our unbeaten streak.”

The 28-year-old is expected to be on the U.S. roster for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala — March 25 in Guatemala City and March 29 in Columbus, Ohio.

“I hope to continue this form and finish the seasson as high up on the table as possible with FC Nantes and do well with the USA national team if called upon,’’ he said.

Other clubs that moved on to the Coupe de France quarterfinals were: Paris Saint-Germain, Marseille, Saint-Etienne, Lorient, Sochaux, Gazalec Ajaccio and Granville, a fifth-division Cinderella team from lower Normandy. The team is made up of amateur players, and the field had to be lengthened at its 3,000-seat stadium to accommodate its Coupe de Monde match.

U.S. women roll

The Costa Rican national anthem was probably still ringing in Las Ticas’ ears when U.S. forward Alex Morgan struck in the 12th second to spark a 5-0 Olympic qualifying victory on Wednesday night in Frisco, Texas.

It was the quickest goal in U.S. team history and came on a play the Americans practice regularly. Morgan scored on a volley from about 13 yards out after getting a headed assist from Carli Lloyd, who had collected a long cross from Lindsey Horan from midfield just after the opening kickoff.

Morgan scored again in the 62nd minute on a header off another assist from Lloyd.

Lloyd scored a goal of her own in the ninth minute, Crystal Dunn scored six minutes later, and Christen Press scored in the 83rd minute.

It was the first competitive match for Team USA since winning the Women’s World Cup last July in Vancouver. The Americans have won the gold medal in the past three Olympics and hope to make it four in a row in Rio de Janeiro this summer.

Coach Jill Ellis, who lives in Palmetto Bay, brought back 13 of the players from the World Cup roster and also tested some younger players. Mallory Pugh, who is just 17, came into the match in the 68th minute, replacing Dunn.

Pugh is a senior at Mountain Vista High in Colorado and was the youngest player ever called up to the U.S. senior national team. The 5-4 forward was the captain of the U.S. Under-20 team and the U.S. Soccer 2015 Young Player of the Year. There was some speculation she would bypass college and turn pro, but she opted to sign with UCLA.

The starters were: Hope Solo, Ali Krieger, Julie Johnston, Becky Sauerbrunn, Meghan Klingenberg, Morgan Brian, Horan, Dunn, Lloyd, Tobin Heath and Morgan.

Christie Rampone and Megan Rapinoe are injured. Amy Rodriguez and Sydney Leroux are pregnant and will not be available for the Olympics.

“For me, it’s almost a perfect start,” Ellis said of Wednesday’s victory. “We were able to check off a lot of boxes.’’

After Saturday’s qualifier against Mexico, the U.S. faces Puerto Rico on Monday.

Who’s leading

EPL: Leicester City (53), Arsenal and Tottenham (48), Manchester City (47), Manchester United (41).

La Liga: Barcelona (54), Atletico Madrid (51), Real Madrid (50), Villarreal (45), Sevilla (37).

Serie A: Napoli (56), Juventus (54), Fiorentina (46), Inter (45), Roma (44).

Bundesliga: Bayern Munich (53), Dortmund (45), Hertha Berlin (35), Schalke 04 (33), Bayer Leverkusen (32).

Ligue 1: PSG (69), Monaco (45), Nice and ASSE (39), Angers (37).

On the tube

Sunday: Arsenal vs. Leicester City (7 a.m., NBCSN), Aston Villa vs. Liverpool (9 a.m., NBCSN), Manchester City vs. Tottenham (11:15 a.m., NBCSN), Getafe vs. Atletico Madrid (12:15 p.m., BeINSport USA).

  Comments