Former MLS man sues for negligence; this could get real ugly

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Former MLS Bryan Namoff is suing D.C. United (and therefore MLS), and this is not good news for anybody.

The Washington Post reported today a $12 million lawsuit filed against the MLS club and Tom Soehn, who coached the team in 2009 during the time in question.

Points to consider here as this one begins to wind through the legal system – slowly, I’m sure, since these things can take years to fully unfold.

  • This is a potential precedent setter. There are other, similar cases out there – some we know about and others we may not know about.
  • Soehn remains in MLS; he is now director of soccer operations for the Vancouver Whitecaps. So, who knows how this might affect him personally? Suffice to say, it will be an unpleasant distraction at very best, with depositions, potential legal fees, etc.
  • ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman, who has done fantastic work in raising awareness of concussion-related problems in athletics and in MLS in particular, will surely have strong thoughts on this one. Whether he can share them all – that’s a delicate issue. We’ll have to see how that plays out.
  • Protocol for dealing with concussions and head injury is much more thoughtful today, but certainly was not always so thorough. Steven Goff’s Washington Post blog entry has more detail.

The last one is tough, personally.

I was at an MLS match a few years ago. A public relations person told me that a certain player was scratched from the lineup, still suffering from the effects of a concussion. He would not play.

Except that he was on the bench, which was odd – and that came as a big surprise to the person who discussed with me the player’s head injury from a previous match.

And in the second half, on that player trotted into the game.

I never got a full explanation of how that happened. Since it wasn’t a team I covered regularly, I never followed up aggressively. In my position at the time, that just wasn’t my job.

But I always wondered was I somehow remiss? Should I have asked more questions about that one?  The fact is, I was a freelance journalist then, and the economics work like this: if someone isn’t paying you to perform a certain task, you simply cannot devote lots of time going down potential rabbit holes.

And yet … I wonder to this day if I contributed somehow to a larger epidemic (or to that player’s potential personal health) by not pressing the issue.

When I see what Namoff is alleging, I wonder if I (and probably some other journalists) fumbled this one along the way. Goff’s story from The Post says Namoff alleges that he “suffered brain damage and cognitive, memory and sensory loss. He also has permanent headaches and fatigue, sleep problems and hypersensitivity to motion, the lawsuit says.”

MLS Snapshot: New York City FC 2-1 New England Revolution (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): For nearly 75 minutes, NYCFC couldn’t muster up any chances in the attacking third, but thankfully their captain did what he does best. David Villa scored his 19th goal of the season on Sunday night to pull out a 2-1 win against the New England Revolution, but it was rookie Jonathan Lewis that notched the winner. The visitors took the lead 20 minutes prior after Sean Johnson spilled a shot in front of his own goal, allowing Teal Bunbury to pounce on the rebound. NYCFC now moves to within four points of Eastern Conference leaders Toronto FC with nine matches remaining in the regular season.

Three four moments that mattered

16′ — Harrison breaks ankles, but Villa can’t finish — This might be the only time all see you’ll see David Villa miss a chance like this…

38′ — Johnson gets a finger tip to Rowe’s blast — Sean Johnson had no work to do in the first half, at least until Kelyn Rowe decided to rip a shot from distance just before halftime.

57′ — Johnson’s error grants Bunbury, Revs the lead — Look away, NYCFC fans.

77′ — Villa find the back of the net — When you need a goal, who you gonna call? That’s right. David Villa. The NYCFC captain is now up to 19 this season.

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Man of the match: David Villa

Goalscorers: Teal Bunbury (57′), David Villa (77′), Jonathan Lewis (90+4′)

Honoring victims of attacks, Barcelona wins league opener

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Wearing shirts honoring victims of the recent attacks in Spain, Barcelona opened its Spanish league season with a comfortable 2-0 win over Real Betis on Sunday.

[ MORE: Neymar double helps PSG cruise past Toulouse ]

Players had the word “Barcelona” instead of their names on the back of their shirts, and the Catalan hashtag “TOTSSOMBARCELONA” (We are all Barcelona) was on display around the Camp Nou stadium. The message was also shown on the stadium’s large screens, as well as on many banners carried by fans.

An emotional minute’s silence was held before the game as the music of Catalan cellist Pau Casals played in the background.

Before the minute was up, the more than 55,000 fans at the stadium broke into a round of applause and began chanting “No tinc por” (I’m not afraid), a chant which has become a symbol of people’s reactions to the attacks that killed 14 people and injured more than 120 in Barcelona and the nearby seaside resort of Cambrils.

Extra security was implemented in and around Camp Nou.

There was a minute’s silence before every Spanish league match this weekend.

Without Neymar and the injured Luis Suarez, Barcelona got off to a winning start in the league after consecutive losses to rival Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup final.

It scored two goals three minutes apart near the end of the first half – an own-goal by Betis defender Alin Tosca and a close-range shot by Sergi Roberto. Both goals came after plays started by Gerard Deulofeu, one of the players expected to try to replace Neymar after his world record transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.

“We lost depth with Neymar’s departure and we have to find a way to overcome that,” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said.

Lionel Messi looked lively but wasn’t able to score his 350th goal in La Liga. He came close, though, being denied by the woodwork three different times.

AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni contributed to this report.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga

Brighton breaks club record with signing of winger Jose Izquierdo

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Brighton hasn’t gotten off to the ideal start in its debut season in the Premier League, but a key reinforcement is on the way.

[ MORE: Chelsea tops Spurs at Wembley behind Alonso’s brace ]

After starting the 2017/18 campaign with back-to-back defeats, the Seagulls announced on Sunday the signing of Colombian winger Jose Izquierdo from Club Brugge in Belgium for a record fee.

The 25-year-old spent three seasons in Belgium’s top flight and totaled 38 goals across all competitions for Brugge, prior to making the move to England.

Additionally, Izquierdo has worked his way into the Colombia squad as of late, and scored his first international goal for his country in June 2017 in a friendly against Cameroon.

MLS Follow Live — NYCFC hosts Revs, Minnesota meets Sounders

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Only two matches will feature on the MLS docket Sunday evening, but luckily two of the league’s most exciting teams will take to the pitch.

[ MORE: Toronto tops Fire as East leaders reach 50 points on season ]

First, New York City FC will attempt to continue its ascent up the Eastern Conference ladder when they host Kei Kamara and the New England Revolution.

In the night cap, the Seattle Sounders look to extend their unbeaten streak to nine matches when they welcome newcomers Minnesota United to CenturyLink Field.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Here’s the schedule and kick-off times for Sunday’s two MLS fixtures.

New York City FC vs. New England Revolution — 6 p.m. ET
Seattle Sounders vs. Minnesota United — 10 p.m. ET