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Giovanni Trapattoni about to start his last match with Ireland?

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Most figured Giovanni Trapattoni wasn’t long for Ireland after Friday’s 6-1 home loss Germany, but if there was any doubt, news that the 73-year-old Italian will skip tomorrow’s post-break press conference leaves little doubt:

source:

 

At the end of the tweet, Palmeri, an Italy-based soccer journalist, alludes to today’s World Cup Qualifier at the Faroe Islands, a match that’s shaping up to be Trapattoni’s last. Though the former Juventus icon has restored some glory to Irish soccer during his five-year reign (qualifying the team for Euro 2012), he’s also been criticized for his stoic tactics. A conservative style helped stabilize the team in the years after his hire, but with the Irish looking more and more like sitting ducks against Europe’s best, there’s concern the team is no longer moving forward.

After a disappointing showing at Euro 2012, there were calls for Ireland to move on from Trapattoni, calls resisted by the FAI. After Friday’s embarrassment, there’s little support for retaining their boss beyond an expected victory at the Faroes.

That match (kicking off at 2:00 p.m. Eastern) is crucial to Ireland’s hopes of making Brazil 2014. As Friday showed, there’s little hope of besting Germany for the group’s automatic qualifying spot, but Ireland can still beat Sweden for second place, a slot that could send them into UEFA’s playoffs.

Even after losing to Germany, Ireland hasn’t lost much ground on the Sweded. The group’s playoff spot will likely be decided by the team’s two head-to-head meetings, giving the FAI incentive to solve their coaching problems as soon as possible.

Early, two candidates have emerged. As is required with any high profile job in the region, Harry Redknapp has been linked. While that would be a good move for Ireland, it’s unclear it would be a wise one for Redknapp, who still has reasonable expectations of slotting into the next big Premier League opening.

Then there’s the turnback the block candidate, Mick McCarthy, who coached the Irish from 1996 to 2002. More recently, McCarthy had a very successful run at Wolverhampton Wanderers. Though he was dismissed last season after a lopsided derby loss to West Bromwich Albion, Wolves’ subsequent collapse (from their already poor state) provided McCarty with some vindication.

McCarthy’s obviously the more realistic candidate, though if he were to replace Trapattoni, the appointment would re-start a cycle the Irish began five years ago. McCarthy’s presence would be stabilizing, his conservative approach providing some brief assurance after Friday’s demoralizing loss. But five, six years from now, will Irish soccer again lament their program isn’t something more? That’s what happened to McCarthy 10 years ago, and ignited by the Germany loss, that’s what’s happening to Trapattoni now.

If Trapattoni is replaced, Ireland needs to go in a different direction. McCarthy is not it. While it’s unclear the Irish are capable of playing a different way, they need to try. Else, might as well stick with Trapattoni.

WATCH: McNamara gives NYC some Derby life with laser blast

Tommy McNamara
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The New York Red Bulls were cruising at home, leading 3-0 in what looked like it could be another blowout New York Derby.

Enter Tommy Mac.

[ MORE: A Pogba Primer ]

The Clemson man and NYC fan favorite unleashed an absolute laser past Luis Robles to make it 3-1 and give City a look at a comeback.

The goal gives McNamara four to go with eight assists this season. Now can NYC keep the comeback working in the second half?

As Pogba bids creep over $130 mil, PST takes stock of the player

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 29:  Paul Pogba of France in action during the International Friendly match between France and Russia held at Stade de France on March 29, 2016 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
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The new number is $133 million.

That’s what Manchester United has apparently offered in a total package to pry Paul Pogba from Juventus, where the Serie A club has been ready to hold out for more from the first moment the player and club were linked.

The latest story comes from Alan Smith and Fabrizio Romano of The Guardian, who say that Juve’s move for Gonzalo Higuain has not made the sale of Pogba a formality.

[ MORE: New contract for Ronaldo? ]

The thing with Pogba is that he doesn’t always pass the eye test, but statistically he’s close to flying colors. In some ways, he’s an analytics man’s conundrum.

Pogba’s 12 assists tied for the Serie A lead with Miralem Pjanic of Roma, and he tied for 20th in goals with eight while blasting the third-most shots in the league (123).

Further, his role in the Juventus system was second-to-none. Only Leonardo Bonucci took more touches than Pogba’s 2577, and he played 130 more minutes. Pogba’s 43 interceptions are 40th in Serie A, and his tackles put him 22nd.

Quite frankly, Pogba has nearly every tool in his locker and deploys most of them despite his relatively young 23 years. He plays on the edge, but rarely crosses it.

There are concerns: He needs a steady defensive midfielder with him, one who can allow him to take his risks. While he’s electric in attack and decent in defense, he won’t be a hero if expected to be the focal point of possession.

[ MORE: Messi back, blonde at Barca ]

This will be paramount in European competition, where Pogba can stand to grow his resume. Yet even this sees him as an instrumental figure in both Champions League and EURO runner-up finishes.

AL AIN, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MAY 19: Roma's Miralem Pjanic during the international friendly match between AS Roma and Al Ahly on May 20, 2016 in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Whiteoak/Getty Images)
Pjanic (Photo by Chris Whiteoak/Getty Images)

The hope with Pogba is that he’ll continue his upward trend. To make Serie A comparisons, can he be Miralem Pjanic in three years, and Marek Hamsik in five?

Moreover, with the money Manchester United or Real Madrid would spend to get him, can he be better? Given Alex Ferguson’s legendary status and failure to keep him at Old Trafford, there will be a group of United fans who will review his matches more than any in ages.

There are three critical things to remember as Pogba Transfer Mania reaches critical mass (It has, actually, hasn’t it?):

  1. Juventus will sell him, as Pjanic is presently an upgrade.
  2. Despite the fee, no one should yet be legitimately comparing him to Ronaldo or Messi; Transfer records will be broken almost every year moving forward, it’s just a matter of who is for sale.
  3. Pogba is a brilliant fit for Jose Mourinho’s system. The sale wouldn’t make sense for every team.

We’d say that’s a pretty good primer for when the sale is announced, and I think it will be, in the next couple weeks. Good luck, Paul.

NASL roundup: Puerto Rico nabs first win in history; Indy passes Cosmos

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As you were, top of the table.

Indy Eleven remains first and New York Cosmos second after the fifth week of the NASL’s Fall Season, just where they finished the Spring: level on points but separated by tiebreakers.

That’s because Indy took down surprising FC Edmonton 1-0, taking advantage of New York’s draw in Tampa Bay to match the Cosmos’ record at 3-1-1.

[ MORE: Messi back, blonde at Barca ]

In Bayamon, Paulo Mendes found Hector Ramos for the lone goal of the match in the 53rd minute, and Puerto Rico FC picked up its first win in team history with a 1-0 win over visiting Rayo OKC on Saturday night.

Only one team in the league remains winless, as Fort Lauderdale fell 3-1 to Minnesota United. Christian Ramirez scored his league-best 11th goal of the season, while J.C. Banks and Ismaila Jome also netted for the victors.

Elsewhere, Carolina drew Miami 3-3 on Friday night, while Ottawa picked up its first win of the Fall Season with a 2-0 win in Florida against Jacksonville Armada.

NASL Table 72416

Ranieri on Leicester post-Kante: “Don’t worry. Football in Leicester will keep going”

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 23: Leicester City manager Claudio Raneri looks on during the Pre Seanon Friendly match between Cetlic and Leicester City at Celtic Park Stadium on July 23, 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
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Claudio Ranieri hasn’t lost his way with words over the summer.

The Leicester City boss who famously refused to admit his team was in a title race for most of the Premier League season is keeping it cool in the wake of N'Golo Kante signing for Chelsea.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

Simply put, Ranieri says everything’s going to be fine.

From Sky Sports:

“Last season we lost Esteban Cambiasso and everybody was crying,” Ranieri said, after his side drew 1-1 with Celtic in a pre-season friendly.

“Now we are crying because we lost Kante. Don’t worry. Football in Leicester will keep going.”

Kante was probably the most important part of Leicester’s title capture last season, but Ranieri’s system was also critical. The follow-up was always going to be a challenge, but the Foxes won’t sit on their hands moving forward.

Don’t worry.