Toronto FC v Real Salt Lake

Starry nights: MLS Team of the Week – Round 5

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ProSoccerTalk Team of the Week for Major League Soccer’s Round 5.

Goalkeeper:

  • Seattle’s Michael Gspurning

Rationale, motive and intent: In a week without a lot of acrobatics, Seattle’s first-year backstopper made the right choices and came up big a time or two shutting out D.C. United to claim a road point.

Back line: (Right to left)

  • Real Salt Lake’s Tony Beltran (pictured)
  • Montreal’s Matteo Ferrari
  • Dallas’ Ugo Ihemelu
  • San Jose’s Ramiro Corrales

Rationale, motive and intent: Beltran, 24 years old, is a having a great year; you wonder if he’s starting to pop up on Jurgen Klinsmann’s radar. He had a pair of assists in RSL win over rival Colorado. Both Montreal center backs, Ferrari and Shavar Thomas, had a good afternoon as their Impact recorded its first MLS win. Ferrari’s leadership near the end proved critical. Ihemelu has been the steady presence along Dallas’ back line, and last Thursday he provided the dramatic stoppage-time game-winner. Corrales had two assists in a 3-1 win; as with Beltran, two assists for a fullback is always a big night.

Midfield:

  • Seattle’s Brad Evans
  • Kansas City’s Roger Espinoza
  • Chivas USA’s Ryan Smith

Rationale, motive and intent: While Osvaldo Alonso has failed to get solid footing on his 2012 season so far, Evans is helping with meritorious all-around play like we saw in the scoreless draw with D.C. United. Espinoza, more trustworthy and less foul-prone this year, is helping Kansas City rewrite record books. Smith was a second-half substitute who changed the game for the Goats in their second road win this year.

 

Forwards:

  • Real Salt Lake’s Fabian Espindola
  • New York’s Thierry Henry
  • New York’s Kenny Cooper

Rationale, motive and intent: Espindola is becoming more of a playmaker at Rio Tinto, working smartly off of Alvaro Saborio, who also had a good night in the win over Colorado. If you’re getting tired of seeing Thierry Henry and/or Kenny Cooper on this list … well, what can I say. They deserve it. Both had two goals in the latest Red Bulls triumph.

Ranking the Copa America Centenario contenders

Copa America trophy — 2015 Copa America
AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo
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Sixteen teams enter next month’s Copa America Centenario tournament, and only one emerges as the champion of North, South and Central America.

Will it be Chile who continues its reign? Will Argentina, Brazil or Uruguay find revenge? Can a CONCACAF side thrive with the tourney in the United States?

[ PREVIEWS: Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D ]

There a varying degrees of likelihood that a country rises above the field to win this year’s competition. In this post, we’ll rank the sides from 16 to 1, unlikeliest to likeliest.

16. Haiti — Happy to be there? Circling the Peru match on its calendar.

15. Venezuela — If Salomon Rondon can make things happen, who knows?

14. Bolivia — Lots of work to be done here.

13. Jamaica — Winfried Schaefer’s team has struggled since its strong Gold Cup.

12. Peru — Inexperience will be a problem.

11. Paraguay — Wins have been hard to come by for Los Guaraníes.

10. Panama — Are they primed for a run, or too old to outlast its group opponents?

9. Ecuador — Dangerous but inconsistent, La Tricolor has an easier group from which to advance than most.

8. Costa Rica — If the USMNT falters under the pressure of hosts, Los Ticos will be most likely to benefit in Group A.

[ USMNT-ECUADOR: Match recap | Player ratings | 3 things ]

7. United States — Hosting is a big deal, and Jurgen Klinsmann seems ready to take a more orthodox approach to his lineups. The Yanks will run more than a few teams ragged, depending on how the chips fall.

6. Uruguay — Navigating the absence of Luis Suarez, which could last the group stage or longer, knocks them down a peg.

(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

5. Mexico — It’s another golden generation for El Tri, and it’s not far-fetched to imagine Mexico makes a run at everything.

4. Colombia — James Rodriguez goes back to being the focal point of an attack, and will remind us just how good he is while under the spotlight.

3. Chile — Repeating is hard, and Chile had a lot of home cooking good fortune in its hosted run to a first title.

2. Brazil — No the side won’t be fully loaded, but Dunga has shown he knows how to run a side with or without Neymar.

  1. Argentina — This could be Lionel Messi’s year to lift hardware for club and country.

Ferdinand lauds Mourinho hiring: “This winner is now a wounded animal”

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www.facebook.com/RioFerdinandOfficial/
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Rio Ferdinand isn’t waiting for Manchester United to make it official, lauding the hiring of Jose Mourinho as his former club’s latest manager.

Ferdinand said Mourinho’s personality is “made for this great club”, as the longtime Red Devils defender took to Facebook to hail the Special One.

[ MORE: Five things United must do under Mourinho ]

Ferdinand, 37, made 455 appearances for United in a 19-year career that included stops at West Ham, QPR, Bournemouth and Leeds.

He says Mourinho will be a motivated and dangerous boss when he takes control in place of fired manager Louis Van Gaal.

“After his recent unsuccessful time at Chelsea in the final year, I can assure you this winner is now a wounded animal which makes him such a mouthwatering appointment. Jose went from winning the League Cup & Premier League to a season of disappointment at Chelsea and I am certain he will want to restore all of that very quickly.”

LISTEN: Copa America drops official song “Superstar” (Pitbull warning)

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Pitbull has joined forces with Becky G to make the official song of the Copa America Centenario, “Superstar”, which they will perform before the final.

I know Pitbull for liking light beer, and Becky G for going on dates with Sebastian Lletget of the L.A. Galaxy.

[ PREVIEWS: Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D ]

This, in all its pop glory, has a catchy-enough hook and a stadium-like chant that hopes to catch on like “Seven Nation Army”. The kids should dig it.

That’s all I got. Enjoy the jammage.

Report: Mourinho signs deal with Manchester United

Chelsea's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho gestures during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on October 26, 2014.  AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS 

RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or live services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.        (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
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Noon ET.

That’s the time Sky Sports claims that Jose Mourinho put pen to paper on a deal that makes him the latest manager of Manchester United.

[ MORE: Five things United must do under Mourinho ]

The report says Mourinho returned home with a bottle of red wine after signing the deal at a London hotel.

From Sky Sports:

Mourinho symbolically wore a black and red tie for the final stage of negotiations, and the deal is completed on the 12th anniversary of his winning the Champions League for the first time with Porto.

Now, we wait. As a publicly-traded company, there are certain constraints United faces in making announcements that other clubs don’t have to entertain.