You get the feeling D.C. United fans cannot quite sort out whether Linoard Pajoy hitting for two goals in a preseason friendly is a good or bad thing. He struck twice on Saturday as United prevailed easily (4-0) over North American Soccer League champion Tampa Bay in the ongoing Walt Disney Pro Soccer Classic.
It’s not that Pajoy doesn’t have some use around RFK Stadium for Ben Olsen this year. It’s just that his imprecise finishing leaves fans feeling somewhat conflicted.
What’s easy to like is the Colombian forward’s work rate, his ability to be a real bother as teams attempt to move the ball out of the back. And his ability to be effective as a hold-up forward can give Olsen a different look when needed.
But “diligent toil” can only go so far in establishing a forward’s value, as we all know. At some point, it’s about bottom-line production for strikers. Three goals and an assist in 12 matches? Meh.
Plus, it didn’t help that Pajoy arrived from Philadelphia for Danny Cruz, a hard-worker himself from the flanks, and a popular man around RFK.
This looked quite a bit like Olsen’s first-choice lineup, minus Chris Pontius, and with someone other than Nane (a trialist) alongside Perry Kitchen in the midfield.
So seeing Pajoy have a good afternoon – against a second-tier side without its top men, it should be said – as a starter alongside Dwayne De Rosario at striker might put United fans at ill ease. They may begin to wonder if Olsen and upper management will decide he is the first-choice striker.
Some would see that as settling.
SANDY, Utah (AP) Real Salt Lake has re-signed forward Joao Plata to a multi-year contract and he will continue to hold a designated-player spot.
The 24-year-old was acquired from Toronto FC before the 2013 season and he has 30 goals and 30 assists in regular-season play with RSL.
[ MORE: Liverpool flops vs LCFC ]
Plata ranks No. 3 on the team’s all-time assists list and No. 5 in goals. He has 33 goals and 35 assists during his MLS career.
Real Salt Lake begins the season Saturday when it hosts Toronto FC.
Mario Gotze’s last few seasons have not fulfilled the expectations thrust about the World Cup-winning attacker.
Gotze, 24, scored the 113rd minute goal that lifted Germany past Argentina in the 2014 World Cup, but has endured successive disappointing seasons between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
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With just two goals this season, Gotze has played just 24 minutes since BVB came back from winter break. On Monday, the club revealed why: a metabolism disorder that will keep him out for an indefinite period of time. From Sky Sports:
“We are glad to know the reasons for Mario’s complaints and we are convinced that after recovering he will give us extra quality with his exceptional abilities,” said Dortmund’s director of sport Michael Zorc.
“Mario gets the full backing and maximum support from all of us at Borussia Dortmund on his way back.”
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Gotze at his best, and here’s hoping this problem is both curable and the reason for his struggles.
Liverpool has named Peter Moore as the successor to chief executive office Ian Ayre.
Ayre, 53, is off to 1860 Munich this summer, and has stepped down early to allow Moore to take over.
[ MORE: Liverpool flops vs LCFC ]
A Liverpool-born executive, Moore was the chief operating officer at EA Sports and has also worked with Microsoft and SEGA.
The move “completes a transitional phase” which saw several new names join the fray. From The Liverpool Echo:
The appointment completes a transition plan by FSG which included appointing Michael Edwards as sporting director while Billy Hogan was promoted to the role of managing director and chief commercial officer.
The United States U-20 men are on the precipice of the U-20 World Cup after beating Mexico 1-0 on Monday, scooping their first win against El Tri in 31 years.
Brooks Lennon continues to look the part for the U.S. ahead of his loan season from Liverpool to Real Salt Lake.
[ MORE: Liverpool flops again ]
The youngster sent in this free kick that Erik Palmer-Brown, himself a loan man at Porto from Sporting KC this year, headed into the Mexico goal courtesy of a back post defender who opted for his right leg over a decent clearing attempt.
The U.S. took that lead into halftime.
Things got chippy as the second half unfolded, with referee Melvin Matamoros turning a blind eye to a few clattering tackles.
Tab Ramos subbed NYCFC prospect Jonathan Lewis into the match, and he sprung a counterattack that should have put the match to bed. But Lewis’ through ball missed FC Dallas’ Coy Craft and the latter took too much time, frittering away the chance.