FC Schalke 04 - Press Conference

Does Spanish scorer Raul makes sense for MLS?

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While crushing a delicious egg sandwich this morning (the secret’s in the bread), I thought about Don Garber’s comments yesterday concerning Spanish scoring near-legend Raul:

Raul is winding up a two-year deal at Schalke, and he knows European sides aren’t exactly driving at high speeds along highways of Germany’s Nordrhein-Westfalen region to recruit him.

So Raul says he’d perhaps like to try MLS. The question with all these guys, of course, is whether MLS is winking back at them, returning the flirty interest.

Garber says “affirmative.”

The commissioner’s comments on goal-line technology made headlines Thursday, but Garber dropped lots of other newsy bites into his talk at the Associated Press Sports Editors gathering.

So is he a snug fit at any particular MLS address? Here are three clubs that might make sense:

Houston Dynamo: Dominic Kinnear still needs a striker. Brian Ching still has plenty to offer, but asking him to carry the weight over an entire season is asking for trouble. He turns 34 next month, and there’s a long history of injury. Second-year man Will Bruin has something, but he’s far from a finished product. Calen Carr has his moments but may be best off the bench. Raul in Dynamo Orange over a short one- or two-year hitch? Makes sense to me, especially considering how many other elements have fallen into place for second-place Houston.

Chivas USA: You have to feel for Juan Pablo Angel. He found his scoring boots after last year’s swap of Home Depot Center locker rooms. But the 36-year-old Colombian striker hasn’t played since opening day of 2012, still dealing with concussion symptoms from a preseason collision. He’s aiming to get back on the field this week, so we’ll see. Either way, you wonder if Raul could fill in for Angel or work in some sort of rotation if the Colombian veteran can shake the symptoms and get back on the field? Chivas has room for a DP – although whether they may not have the will to pay the financial freight considering their meager revenue streams.

Philadelphia: The Union signed Lionard Pajoy to be a main striking threat. How’s that working out? Not great. Raul looks like he’d be a clear upgrade, albeit a pricey and risky one.

A quick word about where the Spanish goal-getter doesn’t make sense: It might be tempting to look at any team with an average or lowly record and say “Sign him up!” But in some cases that’s just begging to create instability from instability.

For instance:

New England? No. Artificial turf and 35-year-old knees are a terrible match.

Columbus? No. Too many other needs, and he doesn’t fit with the club’s youth initiative.

Montreal? See “Columbus.”

Toronto? They have a classy striker in Danny Koevermans; they need defense around BMO like grass needs water.

D.C. United? Maybe, but they are full up on DPs.

Manchester City 3-1 West Ham: Sterling shines with double

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28:  Raheem Sterling of Manchester City celebrates scoring the opening goal with Nolito, Gael Clichy (2ndL) and David Silva (L) during the Premier League match between Manchester City and West Ham United at Etihad Stadium on August 28, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
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West Ham gave Manchester City a bit of a scare early in the second half, but Raheem Sterling‘s second goal of the afternoon provided the home side with all three points at the Etihad Stadium.

The Citizens held on for a 3-1 win on Sunday after Sterling found the back of the net twice, with the second coming in the dying minutes from a close-range tap in.

In the 18th minute, Kevin De Bruyne hit a superb free kick directly into the path of Fernandinho, who smashed home a header to give the hosts a 2-0 advantage.

Without a host of players for the visitors, City took it to their opposition early on when David Silva started a strong attack down the center of the West Ham defense. The Spaniard played the ball out wide to Nolito before finding an open Raheem Sterling, who calmly slotted his effort into the corner for the lead after seven minutes.

Michail Antonio provided West Ham with a lifeline following halftime, however, it wasn’t enough for the visitors to complete the comeback. Antonio headed home at the far post just prior to the hour mark after Arthur Masuaku beat his man and found the attacker.

Video: City clinical on set piece to double lead

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Manchester City has lived up to the billing early on in the Pep Guardiola era, and the first half of Sunday’s match against West Ham has been everything the Spaniard could hope for.

After taking an early lead through Raheem Sterling after seven minutes, Fernandinho doubled the City lead in the 18th minute after a stellar set piece situation.

Kevin De Bruyne‘s stepped up for a free kick before the Belgian curled his effort directly into the path of Fernandinho, who headed home the hosts for the 2-0 lead.

Even though West Ham is understandably undermanned with Dimitri Payet, Andy Carroll and others, City is putting on a show right now at the Etihad.

West Brom 0-0 Middlesbrough: Guzan holds Baggies scoreless

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28: Cristhian Stuani of Middlesbrough takes on Brendan Galloway and Claudio Yacob (R) of West Bromwich Albion  during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Middlesbrough at The Hawthorns on August 28, 2016 in West Bromwich, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
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It wasn’t the most attractive perfromance all around but Middlesbrough remained perfect on Sunday after finishing level in their 0-0 draw with West Bromwich Albion from The Hawthorns.

Brad Guzan earned his second start in net on Sunday since joining Middlesbrough, and the U.S. Men’s National Team keeper was active early on, making two key saves in the first half to keep the match scoreless.

Despite Boro’s success in possession, the team lacked a final touch early on and failed to register a shot on target in the opening 45 minutes. West Brom was successful in limiting Alvaro Negredo’s touches early on, which prevented the road side from getting any sort of offensive rhythm.

West Brom continued to press for the opener in the second stanza, however, the home side’s remained limited and largely unthreatening. Craig Dawson had an opportunity to open the scoring in the 63rd minute with a header from close range, but the attempt missed wide of net after Matt Phillips played in the service.

Watch Live: Manchester City vs. West Ham (Lineups, Live Stream)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23:  Sergio Aguero of Manchester City battles with Aaron Cresswell of West Ham United during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester City at the Boleyn Ground on January 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
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Pep Guardiola remains perfect in his early run in the Premier League and looks to continue that trend on Sunday as Manchester City hosts a difficult West Ham United side at 11 a.m. E.T. from the Etihad Stadium on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

Joe Hart has been the talking point for weeks now at City, but with the new signing of Claudio Bravo finalized earlier this week the attention turns to whether or not the Englishman will be offloaded before the transfer window closes next week.

WATCH LIVE: Manchester City vs. Sunderland live online

West Ham needed a late winner a week ago to edge Bournemouth at home, however, Slaven Bilic‘s side has battled hard in both of their fixtures to start the season.

The Hammers will be extremely undermanned on Sunday as Dimitri Payet headlines the group of players that haven’t travelled with the team to Manchester. Striker Andy Carroll won’t be at the Etihad either, leaving West Ham lacking with depth up front.

Enner Valencia and Cheikhou Kouyate will play key roles for the Hammers as they look to fill the voids left by Payet and Carroll.

Meanwhile, City will keep Will Caballero in net while Bravo finishes his transition into the squad. Nolito also gets the start alongside Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero up front, which will give West Ham fits defensively.

LINEUPS

Manchester City – Caballero, Zabaleta, Otamendi, Stones, Clichy, Fernandinho, De Bruyne, Silva, Sterling, Nolito, Aguero.
Bench – Hart, Fernando, Nasri, Kolarov, Delph, Iheanacho, Navas.

West Ham – Adrián, Ogbonna, Reid, Masuaku, Collins, Noble, Kouyate, Antonio, Tore, Enner Valencia, Fletcher.
Bench – Randolph, Byrum, Burke, Oxford, Obiang, Lanzini, Calleri.