Los Angeles Galaxy  v Chivas USA

Starry nights: MLS Team of the Week – Round 26

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ProSoccerTalk’s Best XI from Week 26 in Major League Soccer includes a wily ol’ veteran who hit his first goal this year. And his second, too!

Goalkeeper:

  • Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando

Rationale, motive and intent: The U.S. international had four saves in an important win over D.C. United. (New England’s Matt Reis was huge in a weekend draw with Philadelphia. But allowing three in the previous match (which was also part of Week 26) makes the Revs’ vet a harder sell. Same for Revolution center back Stephen McCarthy, who was also quite strong in Saturday’s draw at home.)

Back line:

  • Portland’s Hanyer Mosquera
  • Chicago’s Arne Friedrich
  • New York’s Wilman Conde
  • San Jose’s Ramiro Corrales

Rationale, motive and intent: Mosquera won almost every battle in the weekend win over Colorado, and that’s not easy when the other battler is a sledgehammer like Conor Casey. Friedrich and the rest of the Chicago Fire came within minutes of a clean sheet before Brian Ching got loose for a late strike in the Fire’s important 3-1 win over Houston.

Conde and Corrales both played left back. But both turned in impressive performances in storybook conditions. Conde was essentially an “experiement” as left back in Red Bulls’ match with D.C. United. So, who would have possibly thought he would get forward to nail the late equalizer with a stunning first-timer? And with his right foot of all things!

Corrales is no longer a first-choice starter for Frank Yallop at Buck Shaw. But what a night he had in spelling starter Justin Morrow. Corrales hit his first goal this year. And then his second! Both on free kicks, the second one a clever and sneaky effort as Chivas USA arranged its wall.

(MORE: ProSoccerTalk’s Player of the Week: Federico Higuain)

Midfield:

  • Sporting Kansas City’s Paulo Nagamura
  • L.A. Galaxy’s Juninho (pictured)
  • Seattle’s Osvaldo Alonso
  • Philadelphia’s Brian Carroll

Rationale, motive and intent: A couple of guys just keep popping up on this list.

Juninho makes his second consecutive ProSoccerTalk Team of the Week appearance. Another goal for the Galaxy, and another high-rev overall performance in the Galaxy midfield highlighted a 2-0 win over Vancouver. Of course, for Juninho and the Los Angeles Galaxy, all of that is becoming known simply as a “Saturday.”

Nagamura may have been a little lucky with his bouncing goal in the 2-1, tougher-than-expected win over Toronto, but all of his hustle, bustle and quality work in midfield was hardly an accident.

Alonso put in the full shift’s worth of work in oppressive conditions, even if he did need to leave just a bit early (in the 78th minute) with a gash in his head. He and Brad Evans helped keep Dallas’ David Ferreira from being overly dangerous as the teams matched one goal each in Texas.

Carroll’s work is the kind that’s never really appreciated as it probably should be, positionally solid and extremely reliable in possession. But scoreless draws on the road (at New England in this case) don’t happen with contributions like his.

Forward:

  • Columbus’ Federico Higuain
  • D.C. United’s Dwayne De Rosario

Rationale, motive and intent: Higuain is another making a repeat appearance here, thanks to another outstanding week for the Columbus Crew. That week included four assists evenly dispersed over a pair of Crew wins.

“De Ro” hit career goal No. 100 in a draw with New York (and assisted on his team’s other strike in the 2-2 draw.) Then he hit everything but the goal in a tough loss just three nights later at Real Salt Lake.

Conte not going to sell Matic, enjoys quality midfield headache

VELDEN, AUSTRIA - JULY 20: Nemanja Matic of Chelsea reacts during the friendly match between WAC RZ Pellets and Chelsea F.C. at Worthersee Stadion on July 20, 2016 in Velden, Austria. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)
Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images
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Antonio Conte feels he has a bit of an embarrassment of riches in his midfield, not that it’s a problem outside of deciding who hits the pitch.

The Chelsea boss does not plan on selling Nemanja Matic despite the acquisition of N'Golo Kante — in fact Conte thinks Matic can be one of the best in the world.

[ MORE: New club for Pato ]

That’s not surprising, given that Matic was one of the keys to Chelsea’s 2014-15 PL title run.

Conte says he has some tricky selections to make in the coming days, as Chelsea prepares to open its Premier League season Aug. 15 at West Ham United.

From ChelseaFC.com:

“Kante is a good player and he was a target of our market. I am pleased the club took this player, it’s fantastic,” said the 46-year-old. “The players in a great team like Chelsea must know there are many players that can play. It’s important for me to have a good choice to try the best solution game by game. It’s important for me to see always the right attitude and behaviour from the players.

“When I have players like N’Golo, Nemanja, Cesc, Oscar and Chalobah, and Mikel who is in the Olympics, it is not easy to choose. I want to have this problem.”

For a manager who loves to keep it tight in the midfield, it would be far from shocking to see Matic and Kante behind two attacking mids (Willian and Hazard?) or even three.

Regardless, Chelsea’s match day tactics will be one of the more fascinating subplots of 2016, especially when Conte matches up against the Blues’ former boss Jose Mourinho (Oct. 22 at Stamford Bridge and April 15 at Old Trafford).

Spain’s Villarreal signs Brazilian striker Pato

SWANSEA, WALES - APRIL 09:  Alexandre Pato of Chelsea in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at Liberty Stadium on April 9, 2016 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images
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MADRID (AP) Brazilian club Corinthians says it has agreed to transfer striker Alexandre Pato to Villarreal in Spain.

Corinthians says on its club website that it has “agreed to the final administrative details of the negotiation” for Pato’s move to Villarreal.

[ MORE: MLS All Star Game preview ]

It adds that both clubs have agreed to not release the financial details of the transfer.

The 26-year-old Pato played for AC Milan from 2007 to 2013, before returning to his native Brazil with Corinthians. He played the second half of last season on loan at Chelsea in the English Premier League.

Roberto Martinez linked to Atlanta United gig by Taylor Twellman

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - MAY 11:  Roberto Martinez, manager of Everton gives instructions during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Everton at the Stadium of Light on May 11, 2016 in Sunderland, England.  (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
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When news of Sigi Schmid’s departure from Seattle broke, there were plenty of folks wondering who could be the second coach in the Sounders’ MLS history.

One of those doing so publicly was ESPN writer Marc Connolly, who asked whether former Wigan and Everton boss Roberto Martinez could be interested in the gig.

[ MORE: Sounders, Schmid part ways ]

Fellow media member Taylor Twellman is obviously well-connected, and his reply raised some eyebrows, especially given the news that technical director Carlos Bocanegra is closing in on selecting the first manager in Atlanta United history.

Ryan is the quarterback of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, for those unaware. Martinez and Twellman worked together for ESPN this summer.

Is Martinez to MLS really a thing? He’s also been linked to the vacant Hull City job, and would be one of the highest profile coaches to make the switch in the history of the league.

Premier League preseason: Everton, Burnley win; Spurs fall to Juventus

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - JULY 26:  Muhamed Besic of Everton celebrates after scoring the third goal during the pre-season friendly match between MK Dons and Everton at Stadium mk on July 26, 2016 in Milton Keynes, England.  (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)
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Four Premier League teams were in action on Tuesday, with two picking up wins and not a clean sheet in the joint.

[ MORE: Sounders, Schmid part ways ]

MK Dons 1-3 Everton

Ronald Koeman‘s men got goals from Gerard Deulofeu, Ross Barkley and Muhamed Besic, but wasn’t entirely pleased with every facet of their game.

From EvertonFC.com:

“The team, the players, we need to press better. The pitch in some stages of the game was too long. If you press up front, it means the midfielders they need to push up as well and it’s the same for the defenders.”

Bolton 1-2 Burnley

Andre Gray will likely be a well-known Premier League entity when his career is done, and the way he’s playing it could be by the time this season is complete. The Burnley man scored for the fifth time in four preseason games, and Josh Ginnelly also scored for the Clarets.

Barnsley 2-2 Hull City

Adama Diomande and Jarrod Bowen scored as the Tigers stayed unbeaten in preseason play.

Spurs 1-2 Juventus — RECAP