George John injury may only be a bad sprain

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FC Dallas’ playoff fate, about 25 seconds from being sealed last night before Julian de Guzman’s volley somehow found its way through about 30 legs crowded around Vancouver goal, may now be in the doctor’s hands.

Such is the tenuous state around FC Dallas Stadium.

Imposing center back George John was stretchered off after 74 minutes, having fell hideously on his left ankle while stretching to block a shot. John’s obvious pain and frustration (not to mention that stretcher ride that took him immediately into the locker room, never a good sign) had everyone around FC Dallas thinking the worst.

Dallas’ offense has been better over the last two months with the return David Ferreira, and the more recent return of Blas Perez is a big lift, too.

But no one has been more important than John to Dallas’ re-introduction into the playoff race lately. He’s been a wall back there, not just winning everything coming his way but also communicating and helping cover for rookie Matt Hedges, who is doing OK but somewhat stretched in trying to fill the shoes of veteran Ugo Ihemelu. (Ihemelu has been out since early summer with concussion-related symptoms, and is all but certainly done for the season.)

It now looks like John’s injury may only be a bad sprain. What manager Schellas Hyndman said after Saturday’s late, dramatic win.

A sprained ankle and we don’t know what that means. We’re off next weekend, we had all our games earlier in the year and unfortunately that’s when we had most of our injuries. With George it could be two weeks, four weeks or six weeks, all I know is that it’s a sprain.

Dallas may fight its way into the playoffs. But realistically, without its top two center backs, there’s precious little chance that Schellas Hyndman’s team would have enough defensive cover to pull off any upsets from there.

What Dallas does have going in its direction: Because the schedule was so front-loaded, Hyndman’s team has just one match over the next 21 days.

Men In Blazers podcast: Mohamed Salah continues to shine

Men In Blazers
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Rog and Davo marvel at Mo Salah’s four goal, one dime haul in Liverpool’s 5-0 beatdown of Watford, analyze Jose Mourinho’s recent rants about football heritage at Manchester United, and recap Rog’s family trip to Stoke vs. Everton.

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1912 FA Cup winner’s medal stolen

South Yorkshire Police
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A 106-year-old footballing relic has been snatched from a house in England.

The home of the 82-year-old grandson of former Barnsley player Philip Bratley was burglarized last weekend according to the BBC and other reports, and among the items stolen was an “invaluable” FA Cup winner’s medal from 1912.

That year, Barnsley defeated West Bromwich Albion in the finals of the 41st FA Cup, with Bratley scoring the winning goal in the semifinal replay over Swindon Town. He went on to make over 100 appearances for Barnsley between 1910 and 1014 before moving transferring to Liverpool, where he spent one season before he left during the first World War.

“This item is of great sentimental value to the family and belonged to the 82-year-old victim’s grandfather who, at the time, played for Barnsley,” the South Yorkshire police said. “The family is extremely upset that this, along with many of their belongings, have been stolen. If you have any information please get in touch so we can try and reunite this invaluable item with its rightful owner.”

Barnsley has offered to assist the South Yorkshire police in their search for the stolen artifact, as those with any information are encouraged to contact either entity to share what they may know.

Griezmann sets pre-World Cup deadline for transfer future

Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
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French striker Antoine Griezmann is no stranger to seeing his name in the transfer rumor mill, but that familiarity doesn’t make it any more enjoyable for the Atletico Madrid attacker (who celebrates his 27th birthday on Wednesday).

Long-tipped for a move to either Barcelona or Manchester United, Griezmann knows one thing: He wants his future sorted before the World Cup.

[ MORE: Key newcomers for USMNT friendly ]

“I want to travel to Russia without this concern,” he told L’Equipe. “It’s not about knowing where I’ll play, but about having the peace of mind if I’m still in one place or another.

“It may be boring, but I have told my sister that, whether I stay or not, this will have to be resolved beforehand. What bothers me the most is that everyone asks me about this issue.”

That’s both honest and reasonable, and we can imagine it’s not a blast to answer questions on your future every day. He also has a contract through 2021-22, which won’t make any transfer a simple one.

Griezmann has 23 goals and 13 assists in all competitions for Atleti this season, as La Liga’s second place side remains alive in the UEFA Europa League. He’s scored 106 goals for Atleti since arriving from Real Sociedad.

NYCFC signs second Homegrown Player in history

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Four years, two Homegrowns.

That’s the decent track record for New York City FC, which has spotted a second youngster from amongst its ranks in 15-year-old Joe Scally.

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Scally joins United States youth international James Sands as Homegrown Players from NYCFC. Here’s USMNT legend and NYCFC technical director Claudio Reyna:

“Joe has been one of the top performers in the Academy for the past few seasons and represented US Soccer at U-15 and U-17 level.”

“He has all of the attributes we look for in a right-back: he’s strong in defense and can support in attack to help create chances from wide areas.”

Sands was signed last summer, and played 23 minutes for NYCFC against Colorado in his lone senior appearance.