Eddie Johnson

Drilling down on: at Seattle Sounders 2, LA Galaxy 0

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Man of the Match: For Seattle, it had to be one of the goal scorers, and when one for the scores was this bad boy, few would begrudge Fredy Montero tonight’s champagne bottle.

Packaged for takeaway:

  • We knew Los Angeles was going to be without David Beckham and Robbie Keane. They also started without Edson Buddle and Mike Magee , though the two regular saw time in the second half.
  • Bruce Arena was clearly willing to let these points go. While there were a few very mild hints throughout the first third of the match that LA could get to full time without giving up a goal, this is the result you would have expected.
  • The main hint these teams could end drawn: Both sides were playing near-identical 4-4-2 formations that created mildly stoic individual matchups all across the field, with the exception of the free deep midfielders. Juninho and Osvaldo Alonso gave each team an extra man in defense, so for much of the first 40 minutes you got the feeling the match could end a stalemate if neither team adjusted.
  • There were two ways that could have changed. Arena or Sigi Schmid could change up how they had configured their midfield, so the Landon Donovan-Mauro Rosales matchup could break the match.
  • Eventually that matchup became decisive. On Eddie Johnson’s opening goal, Donovan was lax in closing down Rosales, who put in a perfect cross for Johnson, matched up against the smaller A.J. De La Garza. A nice finish from Johnson and Seattle had the opener against a team that was going to rely on counter attacking soccer.
  • Donovan was in a bad spot, forced out to left midfield. It’s not that we’ve never seen him out there or he’s incapable of playing that spot, but with Arena needing to move Sean Franklin into midfield, there was really no other place to play his captain, given the XI chosen. That matched him up with Rosales. With hindsight, you can’t help but wonder if Donovan should have been moved to forward while Michael Stephens or Magee started in midfield.
  • Michael Gspurning left the game at halftime, the broadcast team speculating that a hip injury had tightened up, potentially because of a lack of activity. He was replaced by Bryan Meredith, leaving Alonso as the only Sounder to have played every minute this season.
  • Speaking of announcers, Bruce Arena’s choice to start an “experimental”, “makeshift” team dominated the broadcast. Even deep into the game, the broadcasters’ incredulity never waned. I understand that two hours is a lot of time to fill, but this wasn’t that big of a story. Yeah, it’s disappointing, but it’s also open the broadcast and move on disappointing. We’ve seen Arena do this in recent years. Agree with his decision or not, but there is a logic behind it. He decided to drive 10 miles under the speed limit to save some gas.
  • That should not detract from Seattle’s performance. Whatever team is put out there, you still have to execute, and we’ve seen Arena steal points over the last couple of years with exactly this type of decision. The two Seattle goals were beautifully taken, giving them three points from a team that had owned them.
  • Rosales had an injury scare in the second half, pulling up on a movement toward the middle before he took time to stretch. He walked around tentatively for a few minutes while play continued, though the recently-returned attacker would play about 15 more minutes before coming off.
  • With the win, Seattle moves into third place in the West still having played fewer matches than the rest of the conference. LA stays seventh and have now lost four of their eight games to date.

WATCH: McNamara gives NYC some Derby life with laser blast

Tommy McNamara
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The New York Red Bulls were cruising at home, leading 3-0 in what looked like it could be another blowout New York Derby.

Enter Tommy Mac.

[ MORE: A Pogba Primer ]

The Clemson man and NYC fan favorite unleashed an absolute laser past Luis Robles to make it 3-1 and give City a look at a comeback.

The goal gives McNamara four to go with eight assists this season. Now can NYC keep the comeback working in the second half?

As Pogba bids creep over $130 mil, PST takes stock of the player

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 29:  Paul Pogba of France in action during the International Friendly match between France and Russia held at Stade de France on March 29, 2016 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
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The new number is $133 million.

That’s what Manchester United has apparently offered in a total package to pry Paul Pogba from Juventus, where the Serie A club has been ready to hold out for more from the first moment the player and club were linked.

The latest story comes from Alan Smith and Fabrizio Romano of The Guardian, who say that Juve’s move for Gonzalo Higuain has not made the sale of Pogba a formality.

[ MORE: New contract for Ronaldo? ]

The thing with Pogba is that he doesn’t always pass the eye test, but statistically he’s close to flying colors. In some ways, he’s an analytics man’s conundrum.

Pogba’s 12 assists tied for the Serie A lead with Miralem Pjanic of Roma, and he tied for 20th in goals with eight while blasting the third-most shots in the league (123).

Further, his role in the Juventus system was second-to-none. Only Leonardo Bonucci took more touches than Pogba’s 2577, and he played 130 more minutes. Pogba’s 43 interceptions are 40th in Serie A, and his tackles put him 22nd.

Quite frankly, Pogba has nearly every tool in his locker and deploys most of them despite his relatively young 23 years. He plays on the edge, but rarely crosses it.

There are concerns: He needs a steady defensive midfielder with him, one who can allow him to take his risks. While he’s electric in attack and decent in defense, he won’t be a hero if expected to be the focal point of possession.

[ MORE: Messi back, blonde at Barca ]

This will be paramount in European competition, where Pogba can stand to grow his resume. Yet even this sees him as an instrumental figure in both Champions League and EURO runner-up finishes.

AL AIN, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MAY 19: Roma's Miralem Pjanic during the international friendly match between AS Roma and Al Ahly on May 20, 2016 in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Whiteoak/Getty Images)
Pjanic (Photo by Chris Whiteoak/Getty Images)

The hope with Pogba is that he’ll continue his upward trend. To make Serie A comparisons, can he be Miralem Pjanic in three years, and Marek Hamsik in five?

Moreover, with the money Manchester United or Real Madrid would spend to get him, can he be better? Given Alex Ferguson’s legendary status and failure to keep him at Old Trafford, there will be a group of United fans who will review his matches more than any in ages.

There are three critical things to remember as Pogba Transfer Mania reaches critical mass (It has, actually, hasn’t it?):

  1. Juventus will sell him, as Pjanic is presently an upgrade.
  2. Despite the fee, no one should yet be legitimately comparing him to Ronaldo or Messi; Transfer records will be broken almost every year moving forward, it’s just a matter of who is for sale.
  3. Pogba is a brilliant fit for Jose Mourinho’s system. The sale wouldn’t make sense for every team.

We’d say that’s a pretty good primer for when the sale is announced, and I think it will be, in the next couple weeks. Good luck, Paul.

NASL roundup: Puerto Rico nabs first win in history; Indy passes Cosmos

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As you were, top of the table.

Indy Eleven remains first and New York Cosmos second after the fifth week of the NASL’s Fall Season, just where they finished the Spring: level on points but separated by tiebreakers.

That’s because Indy took down surprising FC Edmonton 1-0, taking advantage of New York’s draw in Tampa Bay to match the Cosmos’ record at 3-1-1.

[ MORE: Messi back, blonde at Barca ]

In Bayamon, Paulo Mendes found Hector Ramos for the lone goal of the match in the 53rd minute, and Puerto Rico FC picked up its first win in team history with a 1-0 win over visiting Rayo OKC on Saturday night.

Only one team in the league remains winless, as Fort Lauderdale fell 3-1 to Minnesota United. Christian Ramirez scored his league-best 11th goal of the season, while J.C. Banks and Ismaila Jome also netted for the victors.

Elsewhere, Carolina drew Miami 3-3 on Friday night, while Ottawa picked up its first win of the Fall Season with a 2-0 win in Florida against Jacksonville Armada.

NASL Table 72416

Ranieri on Leicester post-Kante: “Don’t worry. Football in Leicester will keep going”

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 23: Leicester City manager Claudio Raneri looks on during the Pre Seanon Friendly match between Cetlic and Leicester City at Celtic Park Stadium on July 23, 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
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Claudio Ranieri hasn’t lost his way with words over the summer.

The Leicester City boss who famously refused to admit his team was in a title race for most of the Premier League season is keeping it cool in the wake of N'Golo Kante signing for Chelsea.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

Simply put, Ranieri says everything’s going to be fine.

From Sky Sports:

“Last season we lost Esteban Cambiasso and everybody was crying,” Ranieri said, after his side drew 1-1 with Celtic in a pre-season friendly.

“Now we are crying because we lost Kante. Don’t worry. Football in Leicester will keep going.”

Kante was probably the most important part of Leicester’s title capture last season, but Ranieri’s system was also critical. The follow-up was always going to be a challenge, but the Foxes won’t sit on their hands moving forward.

Don’t worry.