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.

Conte not going to sell Matic, enjoys quality midfield headache

VELDEN, AUSTRIA - JULY 20: Nemanja Matic of Chelsea reacts during the friendly match between WAC RZ Pellets and Chelsea F.C. at Worthersee Stadion on July 20, 2016 in Velden, Austria. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)
Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images
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Antonio Conte feels he has a bit of an embarrassment of riches in his midfield, not that it’s a problem outside of deciding who hits the pitch.

The Chelsea boss does not plan on selling Nemanja Matic despite the acquisition of N'Golo Kante — in fact Conte thinks Matic can be one of the best in the world.

[ MORE: New club for Pato ]

That’s not surprising, given that Matic was one of the keys to Chelsea’s 2014-15 PL title run.

Conte says he has some tricky selections to make in the coming days, as Chelsea prepares to open its Premier League season Aug. 15 at West Ham United.

From ChelseaFC.com:

“Kante is a good player and he was a target of our market. I am pleased the club took this player, it’s fantastic,” said the 46-year-old. “The players in a great team like Chelsea must know there are many players that can play. It’s important for me to have a good choice to try the best solution game by game. It’s important for me to see always the right attitude and behaviour from the players.

“When I have players like N’Golo, Nemanja, Cesc, Oscar and Chalobah, and Mikel who is in the Olympics, it is not easy to choose. I want to have this problem.”

For a manager who loves to keep it tight in the midfield, it would be far from shocking to see Matic and Kante behind two attacking mids (Willian and Hazard?) or even three.

Regardless, Chelsea’s match day tactics will be one of the more fascinating subplots of 2016, especially when Conte matches up against the Blues’ former boss Jose Mourinho (Oct. 22 at Stamford Bridge and April 15 at Old Trafford).

Spain’s Villarreal signs Brazilian striker Pato

SWANSEA, WALES - APRIL 09:  Alexandre Pato of Chelsea in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at Liberty Stadium on April 9, 2016 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
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MADRID (AP) Brazilian club Corinthians says it has agreed to transfer striker Alexandre Pato to Villarreal in Spain.

Corinthians says on its club website that it has “agreed to the final administrative details of the negotiation” for Pato’s move to Villarreal.

[ MORE: MLS All Star Game preview ]

It adds that both clubs have agreed to not release the financial details of the transfer.

The 26-year-old Pato played for AC Milan from 2007 to 2013, before returning to his native Brazil with Corinthians. He played the second half of last season on loan at Chelsea in the English Premier League.

Roberto Martinez linked to Atlanta United gig by Taylor Twellman

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - MAY 11:  Roberto Martinez, manager of Everton gives instructions during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Everton at the Stadium of Light on May 11, 2016 in Sunderland, England.  (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
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When news of Sigi Schmid’s departure from Seattle broke, there were plenty of folks wondering who could be the second coach in the Sounders’ MLS history.

One of those doing so publicly was ESPN writer Marc Connolly, who asked whether former Wigan and Everton boss Roberto Martinez could be interested in the gig.

[ MORE: Sounders, Schmid part ways ]

Fellow media member Taylor Twellman is obviously well-connected, and his reply raised some eyebrows, especially given the news that technical director Carlos Bocanegra is closing in on selecting the first manager in Atlanta United history.

Ryan is the quarterback of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, for those unaware. Martinez and Twellman worked together for ESPN this summer.

Is Martinez to MLS really a thing? He’s also been linked to the vacant Hull City job, and would be one of the highest profile coaches to make the switch in the history of the league.

Premier League preseason: Everton, Burnley win; Spurs fall to Juventus

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - JULY 26:  Muhamed Besic of Everton celebrates after scoring the third goal during the pre-season friendly match between MK Dons and Everton at Stadium mk on July 26, 2016 in Milton Keynes, England.  (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)
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Four Premier League teams were in action on Tuesday, with two picking up wins and not a clean sheet in the joint.

[ MORE: Sounders, Schmid part ways ]

MK Dons 1-3 Everton

Ronald Koeman‘s men got goals from Gerard Deulofeu, Ross Barkley and Muhamed Besic, but wasn’t entirely pleased with every facet of their game.

From EvertonFC.com:

“The team, the players, we need to press better. The pitch in some stages of the game was too long. If you press up front, it means the midfielders they need to push up as well and it’s the same for the defenders.”

Bolton 1-2 Burnley

Andre Gray will likely be a well-known Premier League entity when his career is done, and the way he’s playing it could be by the time this season is complete. The Burnley man scored for the fifth time in four preseason games, and Josh Ginnelly also scored for the Clarets.

Barnsley 2-2 Hull City

Adama Diomande and Jarrod Bowen scored as the Tigers stayed unbeaten in preseason play.

Spurs 1-2 Juventus — RECAP