What we’re thinking, what we’re watching, what’s coming on the blog today and the RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day). Setting up your day in soccer:
Soccer birthdays: Sevilla striker Álvaro Negredo, a Spanish international who was part of Spain’s Euro 2012 championship side, turns 27.
Big Important Story of the Day: We may know more today about Sergio Aguero’s knee injury. If it’s serious, as feared, defending English Premier League champion Manchester City may wade quickly back into the transfer market before the window closes in a week.
RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day): Joe Franchino
*Ahead on the blog today: The usual Monday deliverables, like MLS Player of the Week and Team of the Week. We’ll hear more about Richard Farley’s excellent adventures in England, too.
What you should watch on TV: Round 1 of English Premier League play concludes with a nice one: Everton and Tim Howard will try to contain mighty Manchester United, fortified with last week’s signing of former Arsenal marksman Robin van Persie. Match coverage begins at 2:55 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
If the MLS playoffs started today
- Sporting Kansas City vs. Wildcard winner
- New York Red Bulls vs. Houston
- Vancouver Whitecaps at L.A. Galaxy
- San Jose vs. Wildcard winner
- Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle
We’ll leave you with this: I won’t tie this to any particular MLS match from the weekend, but I will say this: Some of Major League Soccer referees may need a re-take on their annual fitness tests. Or perhaps the standards need to be addressed. Because there are some guys out there who do not appear fit enough to keep up with matches, which means they can’t properly do their jobs.
*Always subject to change; you know how it is…
LIMA, Peru (AP) Peru has extradited the country’s former soccer boss to the United States for his alleged involvement in a multibillion-dollar FIFA bribery scandal involving marketing and broadcasting rights.
Manuel Burga was sent to New York on a commercial flight before dawn on Friday.
He has been in jail since December 2015 as part of the investigation. Peru’s Supreme Court in June cleared the way for his extradition and President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski signed a decree authorizing the move a week ago.
Burga oversaw Peru’s football federation for more than a decade until 2014. He has denied any wrongdoing.
While the battle for MLS Cup 2016 has been dwindled down to two sides, the rest of the league continues to make roster transactions in preparation for next season.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]
The San Jose Earthquakes announced on Friday that the club has exercised options on six players, including goalkeeper David Bingham, Fatai Alashe, Kip Colvey and Victor Bernardez.
Additionally, the Earthquakes have released nine players, including U.S. Men’s National Team defender Clarence Goodson, Marc Pelosi and Tommy Thompson, however, the latter two are reportedly in talks to return to the club in 2017.
NAPLES, Italy (AP) Napoli eased to a 3-0 win over Inter Milan in Serie A on Friday, with two goals in the opening five minutes.
[ MORE: Top 5 PL storylines heading into weekend ]
The home side got off to a lightning start as, following a wonderful team move, Jose Callejon headed back Marek Hamsik’s chipped pass for Piotr Zielinski to volley into the bottom left corner.
[ MORE: Ronaldo, Mourinho involved in massive tax evasion system ]
Zielinski turned provider moments later as Hamsik beat the offside trap to run onto his pass and fire into the bottom right corner.
It was Hamsik’s 104th goal for Napoli, moving him level with Edinson Cavani in third in the clubs’ goalscoring charts. The Slovakia forward needs 11 more to equal Diego Maradona’s record.
Inter started the second half aggressively but hopes of getting back into the match were scuppered six minutes after the restart when Lorenzo Insigne netted his fourth goal in three league matches after visiting goalkeeper Samir Handanovic only flapped at a corner.
Napoli moved level on points with Atalanta, which visits league leader Juventus on Saturday, and fourth-placed Lazio, which hosts Roma in the capital derby on Sunday.
Inter, which beat Fiorentina 4-2 on Monday for its first win under coach Stefano Pioli, remained eighth ahead of the rest of the weekend’s fixtures.
On a day where Atlanta United added another young talent, the 2017 MLS expansion side could be preparing to make a major splash for a South American playmaker.
According to numerous Argentine media outlets, Atlanta is closing in on signing Paraguay international Miguel Almiron for an MLS-record fee of $13 million from Lanus at the end of 2016.
Almiron, 22, has scored three goals in 34 appearances for Lanus since joining the Argentine club in 2015. The young winger began his professional career back in 2013 with Cerro Porteno, where Almiron also played for the club’s youth academy.
On the international stage, Almiron has already earned seven caps for Paraguay after previously representing the nation’s Under-17 and U-20 national teams.