Real Salt Lake v Portland Timbers

The money shot: top o’ the heap in MLS Weekly rankings

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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.

 

Southampton: Van Dijk won’t leave, selling days likely done

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29:  Ralph Krueger the Southampton Chairman looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Newcastle United at St Mary's Stadium on March 29, 2014 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
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Ralph Krueger doesn’t plan on selling any more big Southampton stars, and there’s none brighter than Virgil Van Dijk.

The Dutchman is perhaps the best center back in the Premier League, regularly linked with transfers to anywhere from Manchester City to Liverpool.

[ MORE: Liverpool hires new CEO ]

But Krueger says Saints have had enough of selling big assets. Southampton has sold Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Sadio Mane, and Nathaniel Clyne in the past three seasons, and those are just the names to go to Liverpool. Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama have also moved on from St. Mary’s.

From Sky Sports:

“We would like to move away from that and we feel confident this summer will be a lot quieter in Southampton and we can keep the core of this team moving forward for a few years.

“That is going to be important when you see how excellent the group is right now and how exciting the football is. The game we are playing is a pleasure to watch and a pleasure to be part of.”

Saints were the more effective side in a 3-2 EFL Cup Final loss to Manchester United this weekend, but are well off the pace in the race to make back-to-back trips into Europe.

It will be hard to hold onto Van Dijk and even new bright light Manolo Gabbiadini without Europe, but Krueger is a strong leader with the ability to convince almost anyone to buy into a plan.

Real Salt Lake signs Plata to multi-year DP deal

Real Salt Lake forward Joao Plata (8) gestures while walking during an MLS soccer game against New York City FC Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Sandy, Utah. (Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP) DESERET NEWS OUT; LOCAL TELEVISION OUT; MAGS OUT
Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP
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SANDY, Utah (AP) Real Salt Lake has re-signed forward Joao Plata to a multi-year contract and he will continue to hold a designated-player spot.

The 24-year-old was acquired from Toronto FC before the 2013 season and he has 30 goals and 30 assists in regular-season play with RSL.

[ MORE: Liverpool flops vs LCFC ]

Plata ranks No. 3 on the team’s all-time assists list and No. 5 in goals. He has 33 goals and 35 assists during his MLS career.

Real Salt Lake begins the season Saturday when it hosts Toronto FC.

Gotze out indefinitely with metabolism disorder

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - NOVEMBER 06:  Mario Goetze (R) and Ann-Kathrin Broemmel attend the MTV Europe Music Awards 2016 on November 6, 2016 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for MTV)
Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for MTV
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Mario Gotze’s last few seasons have not fulfilled the expectations thrust about the World Cup-winning attacker.

Gotze, 24, scored the 113th minute goal that lifted Germany past Argentina in the 2014 World Cup, but has endured successive disappointing seasons between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

[ MORE: Liverpool hires new CEO ]

With just two goals this season, Gotze has played just 24 minutes since BVB came back from winter break. On Monday, the club revealed why: a metabolism disorder that will keep him out for an indefinite period of time. From Sky Sports:

“We are glad to know the reasons for Mario’s complaints and we are convinced that after recovering he will give us extra quality with his exceptional abilities,” said Dortmund’s director of sport Michael Zorc.

“Mario gets the full backing and maximum support from all of us at Borussia Dortmund on his way back.”

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Gotze at his best, and here’s hoping this problem is both curable and the reason for his struggles.

Liverpool hires EA Sports executive as new CEO

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Liverpool has named Peter Moore as the successor to chief executive office Ian Ayre.

Ayre, 53, is off to 1860 Munich this summer, and has stepped down early to allow Moore to take over.

[ MORE: Liverpool flops vs LCFC ]

A Liverpool-born executive, Moore was the chief operating officer at EA Sports and has also worked with Microsoft and SEGA.

The move “completes a transitional phase” which saw several new names join the fray. From The Liverpool Echo:

The appointment completes a transition plan by FSG which included appointing Michael Edwards as sporting director while Billy Hogan was promoted to the role of managing director and chief commercial officer.