Whatever we hoped to learn from Tuesday’s match in Houston, where the United States caps its January camp with a friendly against Canada, perhaps we should temper it even more than usual.
Friendlies are tricky exercises anyway. Minus any meaningful pressure, they are highly imperfect as an instrument of analysis. Leave a favorable impression in a match with nothing on the line, well, that’s great. But it doesn’t mean you can do in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, or even in Denver against a Costa Rican team desperate for a point on American soil.
So, any individual or team analysis in a friendly needs to run through that filter. And now we have this …
The team Canada brings … uh, it’s not so good.
Last night, a young bunch of Canadians fell hard to Denmark in Phoenix, 4-0. That was not Denmark’s best, by the way; most of its stars weren’t brought in for this one.
So if Eddie Johnson goes off for two or three, or if Graham Zusi or Benny Feilhaber command the midfield, or if Omar Gonzalez looks utterly unbeatable along the back line or whatever … let’s remember the real deal here.
It’s a friendly. It’s against a young team in transition.
No tractors, no teenager.
Moise Kean, 17, broke into the Juventus senior team last season with a trio of Serie A appearances that concluded with a goal against Bologna on May 27.
He also made a token appearance in the UEFA Champions League against Sevilla, which all-in-all is a pretty solid debut for the century’s first birth to make an appearance in a Top Five league in Europe.
[ MORE: Fabinho has interest in Man Utd ]
About that contract, though.
Kean’s father, Biorou, says Juventus has broken a contractual promise to his family, and that could send the teenager into the transfer market. Biorou says that his son’s 18th birthday — Feb. 28, 2018 — could trigger Moise Kean leave town as “an adult.”
From Sky Sports:
“Juventus offered a contract of €700,000-a-year, which was fine, but the problem is they had also promised me some tractors for my agricultural business in the Ivory Coast, but now they say there is no budget for them.
“I own several hectares of land in the Ivory Coast which I would like to cultivate with rice and corn. I’m an agronomist. I asked for agricultural materials and they told me “no problem.”
Now, though, those tractors are not in the Ivory Coast, and Biorou claims that he never signed a contract with agent Mino Raiola. It all sets the table for further complains and a transfer, so it’s worth keeping an eye on this odd saga.
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) FIFA will not intervene after reviewing two volatile clashes between New Zealand and Mexico players and coaches.
FIFA says “it has been verified that there are no grounds for any disciplinary action to be taken.”
Tempers flared in a running brawl late in Mexico’s 2-1 comeback win on Wednesday in Sochi.
[ MORE: Fabinho has interest in Man Utd ]
Three players were shown yellow cards after match officials paused the game to review video.
Replays showed at least one other player went unpunished after running into the melee to strike an opponent in the head.
In the first half, Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio was caught on the TV broadcast aiming a verbal obscenity at New Zealand coaching staff.
Osorio later apologized for the profanity provoked when New Zealand continued an attack as a Mexico player appeared injured.
If even a fraction of this summer’s transfer interest is real, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has taken every precaution against his biggest 2017 enemy: scheduled congestion.
Mourinho was a regular critic of United’s schedule last season in the run-up to its UEFA Europa League title win over Ajax, and is building his roster up for the UEFA Champions League.
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The manager already had plenty of attacking options, and has added Victor Lindelof to his stable of defenders while reportedly flirting with PSG’s Marquinhos, too. Defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic is also a reported target (as are half of the world’s elite footballers).
And now, a wry smile from Monaco’s Fabinho hints that Mourinho may be making progress with another target.
‘‘It’s a tempting invitation. … I would first talk to my agent, Monaco too, to decide everything right. But it’s a great club, sure enough I would think well about it.”
Fabinho played mostly right back in 2014-15 before splitting time between that position and defensive midfielder the following year and seeing most of his time at CDM last season. Mourinho has lavished praise and given a contract extension to right back Antonio Valencia and has Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick, and Paul Pogba at CDM (though the latter can certainly operate higher up the field).
The days of Chinese Super League sides spending eye-popping figures on a handful of international superstars are over — either that, or those figures are about to double — for now, at least.
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China’s Football Association announced Thursday that, effective immediately, any foreign player signed for a fee exceeding $6.63 million would be subject to a 100-percent tax on top of the fee paid to acquire the player. The tax will remain in effect until the end of China’s ongoing transfer window, July 14. The tax will also apply to Chinese players signed for a fee exceeding $3 million.
It’s Chinese authorities’ latest attempt to prevent big spending by CSL clubs, which has in every instance been detrimental to the development of young Chinese players making their way through the academy system. The taxed money will then be reinvested in “youth training, construction of public sporting facilities and scientific progress in football development,” according to a statement by the CFA.
Just last week, China was eliminated from contention to qualify for next summer’s World Cup in Russia. The only time China has ever qualified for the World Cup was in 2002.