The once-promising, quickly derailed career of Gale Agbossoumonde might be getting back on the right track. The former U-20 centerback signed a contract with Major League Soccer and will be assigned to a team through a weighted lottery later today.
Toronto FC are the heavy favorites for “Boss,” with the LA Galaxy, the Seattle Sounders, FC Dallas, and two other teams also entering. UPDATE: TFC wins.
Wherever he ends up, Agbossoumonde will finally have some stability. He signed with Traffic after turning pro, bouncing from Sporting Braga to Estoril Praia to Djurgarden to Eintracht Frankfurt. A year ago, he turned down a contract from MLS, choosing to play for the Carolina Railhawks. He was hurt for most of the season, however, and did not see much time on the field. (More about his long trip here.)
At his best, Agbossoumonde can be a dominant defender. He’s strong in the air and quick, earning a senior team cap in 2010 when the American’s traveled to South Africa for the Nelson Mandela Cup. (Juan Agudelo won his first cap in that game as well.)
But the 21-year-old talent needs playing time. He hasn’t played regularly, well, really ever, and struggled during the U-20 World Cup qualification in Guatemala. Ironically, his difficulties — playing while running toward his goal, distribution — are quite similar to those of Oguchi Onyewu, another massive centerback who has been injury prone and is working to come back.
But overall, this is a good move for the league and the player. MLS gets a guy who could develop into an excellent defender and Agbossoumonde gets a home to call his own. With patience and training, he could go far.
PRAGUE (AP) Czech champion Viktoria Plzen is close to signing Austrian midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz.
Plzen says Ivanschitz agreed terms for a contract lasting 1 + seasons and will sign it when the team returns from a training camp in Spain. Ivanschitz has already joined the squad at the Oliva Nova resort, the club says.
Ivanschitz helped the Seattle Sounders win their first MLS Cup in December.
[ NEW HOMES: Fonte | Berahino ]
No financial details were given.
The 33-year-old Ivanschitz also played for Rapid Vienna and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, Mainz in the Bundesliga, Levante in Spain and Panathinaikos in Athens.
Ivanschitz played 69 games for Austria in 2003-14, scoring 12 goals.
Joel Matip is going to get to play for Liverpool during AFCON after all.
The center back had turned down the chance to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Liverpool was forced to apply to FIFA for a waiver.
[ PL PREVIEW: Swansea vs. Liverpool ]
Matip suffered an ankle injury in December, adding to his desire to stay at Anfield. He declared himself internationally retired and was one of six Cameroon players who refused call-ups for AFCON.
He last played for the Reds on Dec. 11, and can be selected by Jurgen Klopp against Swansea City on Saturday.
MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says he raised 1.2 million pounds ($1.5 million) from a friendly game against former club Everton last year.
That represents the profits, after operational costs, from August’s sellout match at Old Trafford and goes toward the Wayne Rooney Foundation’s target of raising 5 million pounds for children’s charities.
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Rooney said: “I’d like to thank all the fans who came to the testimonial and made it such a special night. They’ve raised a huge amount of money for children who are disadvantaged and it will make a real difference to their lives.”
Rooney is one goal from breaking Manchester United’s scoring record, with the striker currently tied with Bobby Charlton on 249 goals.
Rooney joined United from Everton in 2004.
Robert Lewandowski picked up where he left off.
The Polish striker scored twice for Bayern Munich, once in stoppage time, as the Bavarians improved their Bundesliga lead to six points after toppling Freiburg 2-1 on Friday.
[ MORE: Bundesliga second half preview ]
And what a winner it was, Lewandowski taking a Douglas Costa cross with two juggling touches before hitting an offspeed bouncer inside the post.
It was the league’s first match following the winter/holiday break, giving Bayern a cushion before RB Leipzig takes the pitch against Eintracht Frankfurt in a Top Five tilt on Saturday.
Lewandowski moves closer to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the goal scoring chart. His 13th and 14th goals have him two back of Borussia Dortmund’s striker, as Lewandowski pursues a third Golden Boot in four seasons.
Full Weekend Schedule
Freiburg 1-2 Bayern Munich — Friday
Augsburg vs. Hoffenheim — Saturday
Schalke vs. Ingolstadt — Saturday
Darmstadt vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — Saturday
Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Dortmund — Saturday
Wolfsburg vs. Hamburger SV — Saturday
RB Leipzig vs. Eintracht Frankfurt — Saturday
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hertha Berlin — Sunday
Mainz vs. Koln — Sunday