This video preview of tonight’s playoff opener from Major League Soccer’s content producers starts with Chris Rolfe’s role for Chicago. And that’s a heckuva good place to start, because like we told you previously, as Rolfe goes, so goes the Fire offense.
They talk about Rolfe playing as a second forward beneath target striker Sherjill MacDonald. But that’s just it; Rolfe’s role has been in evolution. As teams began identifying ways to keep the Fire’s top attacking threat and primary linking conduit off the ball, the Fire needed to adjust his positioning on the field.
When Rolfe was more successful in September, he was playing deeper, closer to his own goal, picking up balls out of the midfield and then turning quickly to spring the counter attack.
As teams prioritized a quicker closure of passing lanes into Rolfe once possession was claimed by the Fire, he moved further up the field, working in closer connection to MacDonald. Last week against D.C. United, Rolfe looked more like a second forward in a 4-4-2 as opposed to the central playmaker in a 4-2-3-1 that we saw before.
Since Houston seems likely to use two holding midfielders in a 4-4-2 – similar to the way D.C. United set up fairly successfully in a 1-1 draw at Toyota Park last weekend – expect to see Rolfe in the more advanced positioning.
Adam Moffat and Ricardo Clark will be too much for the smaller Rolfe to content with in the midfield, so his best chances of success will be in working the connections closer to MacDonald, moving in and out of the advanced channels while forcing those Dynamo central midfielders and center backs to make choices and communicate on locating Chicago’s primary threat.
Here is the MLSSoccer.com video preview:
MADRID (AP) Jose Mourinho’s agent says the Manchester United manager paid more than 26 million euros ($27 million) in taxes when he lived in Spain from 2010-13.
The information was made public on Tuesday by Gestifute, a company run by Mourinho’s agent, Jorge Mendes.
[ MORE: Pulisic wanted by Arsenal, Spurs ]
The Portuguese company has been releasing details about its clients’ tax declarations after European media outlets published what they claimed were details of apparent tax arrangements made by top soccer players and coaches, including Mourinho, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil.
Gestifute, which also has Ronaldo as a client, has already published documents allegedly showing that Spanish fiscal authorities have certified that Mourinho and Real Madrid star Ronaldo are “up to date on … obligations.”
Mourinho coached Real Madrid from 2010-13 and took charge of United this season.
This is going to turn out to be one of the most exciting years of Matt Hedges’ life.
The FC Dallas man lead one of the best back lines in Major League Soccer to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the Supporters’ Shield.
[ MORE: PST talks with Hedges, Zimmerman ]
He’s also likely set for a chance to return to the USMNT fold under new coach Bruce Arena, as Hedges is one of the best players to be largely ignored by Jurgen Klinsmann.
Hedges, 26, was named the MLS Defender of the Year and made the Best XI, and now he’s inked a new long-term deal with FC Dallas.
The four-year deal will keep Hedges in Dallas through his 30th birthday. Capped once, Hedges has 159 appearances with 11 goals for FCD.
Christian Pulisic is one of the most exciting young prospects in the world.
It’s a statement that isn’t often said without hyperbole when it comes to American standouts, but the 18-year-old Borussia Dortmund man has seen his names in the gossip pages a few times this year.
While Liverpool has often been the destination, Italian site Calcio Mercato says Premier League interest is wider than Merseyside. The clubs? Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
[ VOTE: Who should win USMNT player of year? ]
Dortmund doesn’t want to sell the youngster, who is locked up through 2019. The whispered price has been $31 million at a minimum, but perhaps BVB would be tempted given their wealth of young attacking options.
Pulisic has made 27 appearances for Borussia Dortmund, nabbing four goals and six assists. He has 11 caps and three goals for the USMNT as well.
Cristiano Ronaldo had been linked with massive tax evasion, but Real Madrid would ask you to kindly go back to treating him like a king now that he’s proven his innocence.
In a move usually reserved for politicians aiming for high office, Ronaldo’s agent released some of his tax documents to prove everything’s above board.
It all looks good, unlike what befell Neymar and Lionel Messi, so back off, huh?
[ MORE: Wednesday’s Champions League preview ]
From Real Madrid:
In view of the stories published over recent days and in consideration of the certificate issued by the Spanish Tax Agency which confirms that our player Cristiano Ronaldo is up to date with all of his tax obligations, Real Madrid C. F. call for the utmost respect to be shown towards Cristiano Ronaldo, whose conduct has been absolutely exemplary throughout all of his time at our club.
Only the utmost for CR7.
Real Madrid hosts Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday in a match which will decide Group F of the UEFA Champions League.