Galaxy visit White House, Bruce Arena targets player development

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On their way back to Los Angeles from Montreal, LA Galaxy stopped off for their well-earned White House visit. You know: that ceremonial honor given to those who win titles? The one people can’t decide is meaningful or merely obligatory? But hey, at least nobody didn’t use this as an opportunity for misguided politicization (though it would be funny to see Juninho dogmatically expressing strong views on the growth of government).

Per Washington Post’s Steven Goff, all the Galaxy luminaries were there, including a relatively ignored David Beckham. Former Galaxy contributors Clint Mathis and Chris Klein were also in attendance, presumably just in the neighborhood.

More interesting (for us) than a visit to the president, Goff got some time with former D.C. United, current Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, whose answers on a myriad of topics ranged from pointed, to brow-furrowing, to more honest than he needs to be.

The honesty, as it concerned the visit itself:

“In a perfect world, we certainly wouldn’t be doing this,” said Arena, whose team played in Montreal on Saturday and will return to Los Angeles on Tuesday night. “But it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the players and staff who haven’t been involved in this type of ceremony. It’s certainly a great honor.”

On what’s been troubling his team (which sits seventh in the West after lifting MLS Cup in November), well, that’s where brow-furrowing comes in:

“I can give you that answer at the end of the year,” he said. “I have a lot of understanding why our issues to date have been what they are, but that’s not anything I will make public right now. I have a very good sense why.”

Oh, boy. That sounds horrible.

On his coaching future, having reached his 60th birthday:

“A year or two more and then I would love to have the challenge of impacting the technical direction of the league,” he said, declining to reveal when his contract expires. “That’s something that keeps my head spinning every day. It’s been very difficult to have a dialogue in the league that impacts change.”

And that’s where the responses get particularly pointed. You should read Mr. Goff’s full interview to get the depth and flow, but one more piece on player development:

“There is a model for how to do this stuff — it’s how the rest of the world does it. The model is there for us. We just have to get that model efficiently running in our system. It takes a number of people having the time and the right voice and the right intelligence to articulate the message.”

Who has the right voice and intelligence? Check out the full interview.

Why PSG’s Alexis, Neymar pursuit fits in a (relatively) smart space

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Paris Saint-Germain’s run of four Ligue 1 titles ended last season, a campaign which also saw exciting league-winners Monaco go two rounds further into the UEFA Champions League.

Monaco looks set for a step back this season, with Bernardo Silva off to Man City and Tiemoue Bakayoko signing for Chelsea. Kylian Mbappe could join Monaco’s list of departures, and reports say Man City had a bid accepted for Benjamin Mendy.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]

While Monaco is loading up on young talent again, PSG clearly sees its chance to surge back into the title seat and Les Parisiens may just make themselves European favorites as well if they can pry Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal and Neymar from Barcelona.

That would be a South American trident nearly as potent as the one Neymar current shares with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi at Barcelona, and the Brazilian would not be second or third fiddle.

PSG has so far been relatively quiet this summer, with the addition of Dani Alves the lone new buy. Aside from money, how was Alves lured to Paris over Man City and a reunion with Pep Guardiola? The idea of a reunion with Neymar and several Brazilian mates — Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Lucas Moura — may’ve been enough and surely that conversation would’ve happened between the two Barca stars.

The French side has to make a big chance at some point soon, unless they’ve been able to unload their money bags and actually buy a fountain of youth. Thiago Motta is 34, Blaise Matuidi 30, Silva 32, and Edinson Cavani 30.

It’s calculated aggression from PSG to splash cash in hopes of rivaling Real Madrid, Juventus, and Barca in pursuit of the UCL title. The Neymar move weakens one of those rivals. If Marco Verratti isn’t part of a swap deal, the signings of Sanchez and Neymar would meet the Italian star’s ambitions well up the road.

De Boer: West Brom was out to injure Palace star Zaha

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No shrinking violet, new Crystal Palace boss Frank De Boer was left fuming at West Bromwich Albion players following the PL Asia Trophy third place match on Saturday in Hong Kong.

While the focus could’ve been on Luka Milivojevic‘s gorgeous free kick (watch here), De Boer couldn’t get past the hard fouls aimed at his key attacker.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]

West Brom gave away the free kick that led to the aforementioned goal by chopping down Zaha, and the foul was not an isolated incident.

From the BBC:

“They were looking for him, to injure him,” said De Boer.

“He’s one of the exciting players in the league. I don’t want to think he’d be out for two weeks or months.”

De Boer is no stranger to rough play, so this is not coming from a soft place. We doubt it’s going to change anything from Tony Pulis‘ men, though.

Chelsea hammers Arsenal 3-0 in Beijing (video)

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Chelsea struck twice early and Michy Batshuayi put the cherry on top as the Premier League champions cruised past Arsenal 3-0 in Beijing on Saturday.

The Blues started a lineup they’d use on any occasion in the PL, while Arsenal had unproven prospects Cohen Bramall and Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the XI.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]

Willian‘s quick goal put the Blues up 1-0 at the Bird’s Nest, and Batshuayi scored the second and third. Both were pretty classy, especially the second.

Marcos Alonso did the lion’s share of the work to produce the second chance for Batshuayi, who is threatening to carry over his fine late season form to this campaign. What a smash.

Coutinho rocket helps LFC to PL Asia Trophy (video)

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Goals from Mohamed Salah and Philippe Coutinho helped Liverpool come back from an early deficit to win the PL Asia Trophy on Saturday in Hong Kong.

Islam Slimani gave Leicester City an early lead in front of a heavy pro-Liverpool crowd at Hong Kong Stadium, but Coutinho delivered the goods on both goals in a 2-1 win.

The tournament win is Liverpool’s first in its second trip to the PL Asia Trophy Final.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]

First he crossed for Salah to head home, and then he scored the above goal by cutting in from the left and lashing a shot past a flailing Kasper Schmeichel.

We’ve seen this one before from Coutinho, just not on this particular continent. The Brazilian remains a Barcelona target, but looks prepared for the season in whatever land he sets foot.