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.

Raiola: Zlatan to “100 percent” stay in Europe for two seasons

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be 35 and coming off major knee surgery, but that isn’t stopping suitors from lining up across Europe.

Ibrahimovic’s agent, Mino Raiola, says that MLS is not an option for the Swede over the next two seasons. From Sky Sports:

“Many clubs have asked for Zlatan. He can play two more years and will stay in Europe, 100 per cent.”

It would make sense for Ibrahimovic to stay around Manchester United, where he is admired by Jose Mourinho and coming off a season that showed he’s still capable of contributing at a high level.

But he remains beloved in Italy, and would be effective for most clubs in the Top 5 leagues should he return at even 75 percent of the Zlatan we’ve seen regularly.

Report: Manchester United, Inter Milan keen on Perisic deal

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Manchester United wants Ivan Perisic, and both the player and his current club are all about it.

Perisic, 28, is ready to leave Inter Milan, and the Serie A mainstays are happy to accept $46 million for his services according to Sky Sports.

[ MORE: No China for Costa ]

Primarily a left winger, Perisic moved to Inter from Wolfsburg at the start of the 2015-16 season. He scored 10 goals and added nine assists in Serie A play this season, and has kept up his production pace since moving from the Bundesliga to Italy.

United needs stars and depth for its Champions League campaign, and Perisic would buttress an attack with Marcus Rashford, Henrikh Mkhitaryan amongst others. He was a difference maker for Croatia at EURO 2016, and can do the same at Old Trafford.

Celtic secures trophy treble, ends Scottish season unbeaten

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GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) Celtic completed a trophy treble in Scottish soccer and finished the domestic season undefeated after beating Aberdeen 2-1 in the Scottish Cup final thanks to an injury-time goal on Saturday.

Midfielder Tom Rogic scored from an acute angle in the second minute of stoppage time at Hampden Park to ensure Celtic added the cup to the Scottish Premiership and the Scottish League Cup.

[ MORE: No China for Costa ]

Brendan Rodgers became the third manager, after Jock Stein (1967, 1969) and Martin O’Neill (2001), to lead Celtic to a treble of domestic titles.

Celtic hasn’t lost any of its 47 games across in the league and both cups, and is the first team to go through the whole of a Scottish domestic season unbeaten.

No China for Costa: It’ll be Chelsea or Atletico Madrid

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Blues striker Diego Costa offered some insight into his future following Chelsea’s FA Cup Final loss to Arsenal on Saturday.

The combustible striker was subject to a head-turning bid from the Chinese Super League this winter, but is only looking at two European locations for his future.

Those are his current club, Chelsea, as well as former home at Atletico Madrid.

[ JPW: Poignant FA Cup Final reflects English mood ]

The 28-year-old Costa has kept his scoring pace level since arriving in the Premier League. He scored 64 goals in 134 matches for Atleti, and has notched 58 goals for Chelsea in 120 appearances.

Costa reportedly said, “No, no, no” when asked about China, as well as the following: