We’ve already dropped the knowledge and science on Parts II and III; here are your top money-makers and heart-breakers right now in MLS:
1. Real Salt Lake – Someday, Jason Kreis will slog off the field after a memorable 8-0 romp-and-stomp over some overmatched, beleaguered MLS visitor into Rio Tinto. RSL’s perfectionist manager will seem utterly forlorn as declares before a room of notebooks, cameras and microphones: “I just don’t know how we’ll win another game this year if we don’t play any better than that.” (Kreis loved the effort but noted ample room for improvement following his team’s 2-0 win over the Red Bulls.) … Oh, and DO NOT call anyone at Rio Tinto a “second-stringer!”
2. Los Angeles Galaxy – Galaxy players received their championship bling for claiming MLS Cup 2011, and then promptly vented their Champions League frustrations by whipping the black and red out of D.C. United. Robbie Keane hit for two in Sunday’s 3-1 victory. All the Galaxy money men were in top form in this one.
3. Seattle Sounders – A night to remember for young David Estrada, whose hat trick propelled the home side over understandably distracted and hung-over Toronto FC. Yes, things were arranged for success, but it was still quite a response after last week’s painful Champions League disappointment around the Sound.
4. Sporting Kansas City – C.J. Sapong, Graham Zusi and Kei Kamara got in their licks while the home team pointed a whopping 27 shots toward New England goal, threatening to turn SKC’s home opener into a real stat-padder. Peter Vermes side had a man advantage for almost 80 minutes of this one. An injury to Aurelien Collin does ask some questions about that depth at center back everyone suspected might be a problem. By the way, SKC in home openers? Now 11-2-4 all time.
5. Colorado Rapids – Jaime Castrillon and Tony Cascio scored for the Rapids in a big win at Philly despite Jeff Larentowicz’s second-half expulsion. It was a scruffy win, to be sure, but a win is a win at PPL Park and now the Rapids’ 2-0 start under new boss Oscar Pareja is a bit of a talker around MLS.
6. Houston Dynamo – Two weeks ago, the Dynamo traveled West and sneaked away with a 1-0 win at Chivas USA. Last week, the Dynamo traveled West and sneaked away with a 1-0 win over San Jose. It’s a fantastic way to start the seven-game road swing to begin the season, which easily could have devolved into a big ol’ beat down. Houston has already matched its 2011 road win total.
A Richmond Kickers striker will hopefully be able to credit a back injury with saving his life.
Matthew Delicâte has been with the USL side for 10 years, and picked up a knock in training that required an MRI.
[ EURO 2016: England squad released | Germany, too ]
That scan revealed a mass on his kidney, and Delicâte is now set for 8-12 weeks on the sidelines and major surgery.
“I was frustrated after hurting my back and not being able to train and feature for the team, but in hindsight, I am very fortunate to have caught this at an early stage,” commented Delicâte. “I hope the team continues to work hard in my absence and I am aiming for a full recovery as quickly as possible.”
“Events such as this immediately put the importance of winning soccer matches into perspective,” added Leigh Cowlishaw, Richmond Kickers Director of Soccer. “We wish Deli a successful surgery, speedy recovery and look forward to having him score more goals for the Kickers in the months to come.”
The 34-year-old English forward played at Virginia Commonwealth University before embarking on a pro career with Richmond and the Rochester Rhinos, briefly heading home to England for a spell with National League side Ebbsfleet United.
All our best to Delicate, his family, and the Kickers.
No surprise here: the most famous footballer of all-time has acquired a wide variety of extraordinary items, many of them as unique as Pele himself.
The 75-year-old Brazilian is going to auction a lot of those items come June in England, with at least part of the money going to a pediatric hospital in his come country.
[ MORE: Marcelo giving away UCL medal via Facebook ]
Some of these items are going to get crazy money. Consider: He’s selling a one of a kind Jules Rimet Trophy given to him after the 1970 World Cup, and the boots he wore in “Victory”.
Here’s what Pele says of the sale, expected to fetch at least $5 million, according to a BBC Business story:
“It was a difficult decision to make but it takes a lot to properly care for these artefacts, and I felt I could do much more good by sharing these items with the world, as well as helping my causes that are important to me.”
Less expensive items, like a match-worn New York Cosmos jersey, are still expected to have purchase prices as high as $8-10,000. So, yeah, a lot of us are going to be left out of the process.
Then again, they’re just Earthly possessions, no? If Pele doesn’t need them, I can be content in also being shut out.
Andros Townsend and Danny Drinkwater are not going to France as part of the England national team for Euro 2016.
That means both Daniel Sturridge and Marcus Rashford have been included in Roy Hodgson’s squad, putting five strikers in the mix.
[ MORE: Reus left out of Germany squad ]
Rashford, 18, is the youngest player on the roster, with Tottenham’s Dele Alli second (20).
Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson have overcome fitness concerns to get into the squad.
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Fraser Forster (Southampton), Tom Heaton (Burnley).
Defenders: Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones (Everton), Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur), Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool).
Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Ross Barkley (Everton), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), James Milner (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal).
Strikers: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United).
Comparing it to the 2014 World Cup opener against Ghana, USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann called Friday’s Copa America Centenario opener against Colombia “starting a tournament with a final”.
While Costa Rica and Paraguay are far from slouches, Colombia is the best team in the United States’ group.
[ COPA AMERICA PREVIEWS: Group A | B | C | D ]
A win would set the tone for the group stage and, historically speaking, winning the first game gives teams a tremendous chance to advance to the knockout rounds.
In a Facebook live chat on Sunday, Klinsmann implied that his Yanks wouldn’t play for a draw against Colombia.
“We are going to go for it. We are going to do that and we are going to try and make it happen on Friday night because it would give us a big, big boost towards the game against Costa Rica and then finishing off the group with Paraguay. Similar to the World Cup, we need a good result in the first game.”
There’s no denying a win would be massive, putting Colombia up against the wall for both of its remaining games. Los Cafeteros have not kept a clean sheet in three matches, but all of those were wins. Their only losses since mid-June 2015 came against Uruguay and Argentina.