Keep calm

ProSoccerTalk’s weekly Panic Quotient


ProSoccerTalk’s weekly soccer Panic Quotient (®) takes the temperature of stress and distress in the streets of Major League Soccer and along the boulevards of the global game, and since I’ve kicked Steve off this beat for a week, we’re making this a Southern California inspired PQ in honor of my visit for tonight’s LA Galaxy-Real Madrid friendly:

Real Salt Lake: Jason Kreis and company talked big ahead of their trip to Costa Rica. CONCACAF Champions League was a priority. Two days and 3,500 miles later, RSL flew home with no points. Slows starts, lack of possession, red cards – it happens – but with four group stage games instead of six in this year’s tournament, you can’t afford multiple slips. RSL used their pass in game one.

Panic quotient = pretty low, along the lines of: Alarm goes off for dawn patrol, you decide to sleep in and deal with being dogged by your friends when you meet them for breakfast burritos.

Shalrie Joseph: Speaking of wake up calls, there’s nothing like a cold handshake and a plane ticket cross country to tell you we weren’t getting the job done. When you’re 34 years old, the subtext of that message is a challenge: Can you still get it done? At least one team says no, and who knows. They might be right.

New team, new city, new life – Shalrie’s going to get a chance to prove them wrong. It may also be his last stop in the league.

Panic quotient = moderate-to-high, along the lines of: You’re in Santa Monica, your flight takes off in 90 minutes, and you forgot there’s construction on Lincoln as you go through Marina del Rey.

How do you know so much about Marina del Rey?

Most Eastern Conference teams: Most of the year, there’s been a nice convivial attitude at the top of the conference. Kansas City, D.C. United, New York have all had their turns. Houston’s been allowed to lurk. Then Erik Soler convinces Vancouver that the Seba Le Toux era has run its course. And then he adds Tim Cahill. The rest of the East has to love this.

Teams usually espouse a “you’ve got to beat the best” attitude about these types of things. Not-so-deep down? Nobody outside of Harrison can be thrilled about a stacked New York.

Panic quotient = high, along the lines of: You’re stuck on the 405, nothing’s moving, you smell something from the engine and notice your temperature gauge is trying to find a letter to the right of H. And your cell died 10 minutes ago.

LINEUPS: Tim Howard starts for USMNT against Costa Rica

SALVADOR, BRAZIL - JULY 01:  Tim Howard of the United States gestures during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Belgium and the United States at Arena Fonte Nova on July 1, 2014 in Salvador, Brazil.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
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The United States takes on Costa Rica in a friendly tonight at Red Bull Arena, as the USMNT must put the Mexico match behind them and focus on the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

The biggest inclusion in tonight’s starting XI is that of Tim Howard in goal, marking his return to the national side after taking a self-imposed sabbatical. It will be Howard’s first appearance for the USMNT since his legendary performance against Belgium in the 2014 World Cup.

Klinsmann has chosen to go with a 4-4-2 tonight, and Geoff Cameron remains the only starter in the back-line from the Mexico match. He’ll partner with Michael Orozco in the center of defense, with Brad Evans and Tim Ream on the outsides.

[ MORE: Fabian Johnson sent home from USMNT after fall-out with Klinsmann ]

In the midfield, Klinsmann has put some speed on the wings through the likes of DeAndre Yedlin and recent call-up Brek Shea. Danny Williams joins Jermaine Jones as the central midfielders.

Up top, Jozy Altidore will play alongside Gyasi Zardes, who returns to his more comfortable position as forward.

Cristiano Ronaldo wins record fourth European Golden Boot

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 13:  Real Madrid football player Cristiano Ronaldo poses with his four Golden Boot Awards as maximun goal scorer of European leagues at The Westin Palace Hotel on October 13, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Cristiano Ronaldo has added another trophy to the collection, winning his fourth Golden Boot as Europe’s top scorer for the 2014-15 season.

The award accounts for goals in league play only, which means the Champions League and domestic tournaments are not included. In La Liga, Ronaldo scored 48 goals in 35 appearances.

[ MORE: 2015 MLS playoff scenarios ]

Ronaldo first won the award after the 2007-08 season with Manchester United, and has now added three more with Real Madrid in 2010-11, 2013-14, and 2014-15.

With his fourth win, Ronaldo moves ahead of Lionel Messi as the only player to win the award four times. Messi has won three, while eight players have won two.

Below is a post from Ronaldo’s Facebook page reflecting on the award:

What a special moment in my professional life!

Winning four Golden Boots is a privilege for me and I’ll keep challenging myself because I want to do better every time and I want to keep chasing for more records.

I have to thank everyone in Real Madrid that made this possible and we want to keep winning more titles and more trophies. Thank you everyone.

Ronaldo alone scored more goals in La Liga play last season than 14 clubs did, which shows how prolific his season was. The only player to score more than 48 league goals in a European season was Messi, who scored 50 in 2011-12.

[ EURO 2016: A look at the 20 teams that have qualified for France ]

While it was a successful year for Ronaldo personally, it was a very disappointing campaign for Real Madrid, who fired manager Carlo Ancelotti after finishing the season without a trophy.