Toronto FC v Columbus Crew

ProSoccerTalk Player of the Week: Federico Higuain


A lot a Major League Soccer men just cannot catch a break at the moment.

Let’s use Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Juninho, for example. He’s an absolute crackerjack in L.A.’s midfield at the moment, covering ground, working the passing lanes to near perfection and scoring some glorious goals. It might look like Player of the Week stuff … except a certain Argentine now operating out of Ohio is hogging all the PoW acclaim.

It’s just that Federico Higuain is all the rage right now around Major League Soccer. And around ProSoccerTalk, too, where he is our MLS Player of the Week.

Truly, has any one man so singularly changed a team’s fortunes, and so quickly? Dallas’ David Ferreira certainly made his team look like something completely different upon his return two months ago, but not even Ferreira created such a radical reversal.

(MORE: ProSoccerTalk’s MLS Team of the Week)

Just look at last week: Higuain had both assists as the Crew rallied from a goal down on the road (never, ever an easy ask) to steal three points out of Philadelphia.

That was on Wednesday. Three nights later, back in Ohio, the Crew fell behind by a goal once again, this time to Montreal (a club playing wonderful soccer lately). No worries, however.

Higuain assisted on goals in the 80th and 93rd minutes as the Crew collected another three points in the summer assault on a Eastern Conference standings.

A month ago, Columbus was getting close to “playoff afterthought” territory. Now, Robert Warzycha’s team occupies the fifth and final playoff spot – and owns at least one game in hand with the closest threats.

EURO 2016: Ireland shock Germany, Northern Ireland qualify

Shane Long, Ireland
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A recap of Thursday’s action in 2016 European Championship qualifying:

Ireland 1-0 Germany

Southampton striker Shane Long scored the goal that knocked off the defending world champions and pushed Ireland one step closer to next summer’s European Championship in France. Long, who entered the game in the 65th minute, latched onto Darren Randolph‘s ball over the top in the 70th minute, took one touch to settle and fired for the far post, beating Manuel Neuer for the game’s only goal.

With one game still to play, Ireland (18 points) sit third in Group D, level on points with Sunday’s opponent Poland. While the winner of Sunday’s clash could leapfrog Germany (19), they will more likely finish second in the group and qualify automatically. A draw on Sunday could still see both sides qualify automatically through the ranking of third-place finishers (the top third-place finishers from group play earns an automatic berth at EURO 2016).

Northern Ireland 3-1 Greece

Norther Ireland (20 points) topped Greece (3), 3-1 on Thursday to officially book their place at EURO 2016. Steven Davis scored twice and Josh Magennis added the third for Michael O’Neill’s side.

With one game still to play (Sunday, at Finland), Northern Ireland can finish no lower than second. A draw against Finland, or any points dropped by Romania (17) would see Northern Ireland finish top of Group F.

Portugal 1-0 Denmark

Joao Moutinho scored the only goal of the game to secure Portugal’s (18 points from just seven games) place at next summer’s tournament. The defeat sees Denmark remain second in Group I, a point ahead of third-place Albania, who lost to Serbia on Thursday. Having played all eight of their group games, Denmark can go no higher than 12 points, meaning they would fail to qualify if Albania beat Armenia on Sunday. A draw between Albania and Armenia would see Denmark qualify based on tiebreakers.

Elsewhere in EURO 2016 qualifying action

Group D

Scotland 2-2 Poland
Georgia 4-0 Gibraltar

Group F

Hungary 2-1 Faroe Islands
Romania 1-1 Finland

Group I

Albania 0-2 Serbia

Jurgen Klopp announced as new Liverpool manager

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool FC
Liverpool Football Club/Getty Images
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Enough with the speculation and reports already, because it’s finally officially official: Jurgen Klopp has been appointed the newest manager of Liverpool Football Club, the Merseyside club announced on Thursday.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Klopp will be unveiled to the world at an introductory press conference at Anfield on Friday.

According to early reports, Klopp’s three-year contract could pay him as much as $10 million per season.

[ QUOTE KING: Top 10 “Klopp-isms” from his time at Dortmund ]

The 48-year-old German has been out of work since stepping down at Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund following a seventh-place finish to the 2014-15 season. Klopp’s seven seasons in charge of Dortmund weren’t without success and silverware, though, as he led Der BVB to back-to-back league titles in 2011 and 2012, a German Cup triumph in 2012 and a UEFA Champions League final appearance in 2013.

PST’s Joe Prince-Wright will be at Anfield on Friday for Klopp’s unveiling, so be sure to follow JPW on Twitter and check back to PST for wall-to-wall coverage of Klopp’s first press conference as Liverpool manager.