FC Schalke 04 - Press Conference

Does Spanish scorer Raul makes sense for MLS?


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.

How can Man United qualify for last 16 of Champions League?

Wayne Rooney, Manchester United FC

Heading into the their final UEFA Champions League Group B game, Manchester United hold their destiny in their own hands, but any slip-up could mean it’s Europa League on Thursday nights for Louis Van Gaal‘s men.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

The Red Devils would have advanced to the knockout stage with a victory over third-place PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, but slumped to an ugly 0-0 draw instead.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Man United 0-0 PSV ]

So, here’s all of the scenarios for the final matchday of the group stage, away to Wolfsburg, in which United would advance to the round of 16 advance:

  • A Man United win will see Man United finish top of Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV draw or loss (vs. CSKA Moscow), will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV victory, will see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV loss, will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United loss by more than one goal, coupled with a PSV draw, would see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV win, would see Man United finish third in Group B

[ MORE: Champions League schedule

There are your scenarios for Man United as it’s pretty simple to break it down: Win, and they go through. Fail to win, and their fate is completely in the hands of PSV.

VIDEO: Can Leicester stun the world? Man United title favorites?

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The Foxes are top of the Premier League and are led by a surging Jamie Vardy but how long can they keep shocking the world?

With six tough games coming up between now and the start of 2016, Claudio Ranieri‘s men will be pushed to their limit but so far this season they’ve been sensational and Vardy has equaled Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of scoring in 10-straight PL games.

[ MORE: Full PST Extra archive ]

Can he make it 11 in a row on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) when United visit the King Power Stadium? As for the Red Devils, they sit in second place and are just one point behind the flying Foxes’. Louis Van Gaal‘s men have certainly flown under the radar so far and our churning out wins at an impressive rate.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss that and more in the latest edition of PST Extra. Click play on the video above to see our chat in full.

Men in Blazers podcast: The Leicester fairytale goes on

Men In Blazers - Sept. 22
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Rog and Davo revel in another chapter of the Leicester City fairytale, break down Liverpool’s shock dismantling of Manchester City and discuss Arsenal’s slip against West Brom.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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Pellegrini updates status of Joe Hart’s hamstring injury

Joe Hart, Manchester City FC
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Joe Hart was forced to leave Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, which he seemed to incur while making a spectacular one-on-one kick-save late in the second half.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed after the game that Hart’s injury is indeed a hamstring issue, and went on to say that he would need further tests once the team arrives back in Manchester to determine the severity and how long, if at all, City and England’s no. 1 would be out of action.

Man City, currently third in the Premier League on 26 points, will host eighth-place Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).