The LA Galaxy reminded us last year that while so many elements of Major League Soccer have matured through the years, this much has remained a constant:
In MLS, you only have to be right near the end; you can seriously stink up the joint in the early weeks but reliably get away with it.
It is a bit harder to pull off these days as more clubs gain further stability in organizational footing. Translation: more organizations have their doggone acts together, and that means stronger links through the 19-team MLS chain. Still, it can be done.
That’s good news in 2013 for the Galaxy, who overcame a horrendous start last year, rallying to make the playoffs and then successfully defending their MLS Cup crown. They were “right” in the end.
Looks like Bruce Arena’s team may need more of the same for the 18th MLS campaign. Landon Donovan’s absence over the first few regular season weeks has been well chronicled.
And we know the Galaxy hunt for a third Designated Player (to replace new Parisian David Beckham) goes on, almost certain not to arrive at resolution until the summer.
Now comes word that Mike Magee, the very picture of the modest-salaried, highly dependable work-a-day the Galaxy must have in order to balance a DP-heavy roster, may miss the club’s 2013 opener this weekend.
Galaxy manager Bruce Arena is being typically coy about Magee’s injury, and Magee (pictured, center) is not being made available to media this week.
The Galaxy opens Sunday against Chicago (5 p.m. ET on Univision). The entire opening week schedule is here.
Take it or leave it.
Manchester City has made a final push for Everton defender John Stones, and has set its last offer at $52 million. Last month, the Citizens made the same exact bid for the 22-year-old, which was rejected by Everton.
[ MORE: Italian legend Christian Vieri looks to join Chinese Super League ]
City is said to be looking to avoid overpaying for Stones, after compensating Porto over $55 million for centerback Eliaquim Mangala two years ago.
While Stones has gone on record saying that he wants to play for manager Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium, it remains to be seen if Everton will part ways with its prized defender.
Following a midweek loss against FC Edmonton, the New York Cosmos will try to rebound at home against Puerto Rico FC.
The Cosmos currently have two losses during the Fall Season, having conceded 10 goals in six matches, which is the second-most in NASL.
[ MORE: MLS weekend preview ]
With no unbeatens remaining, Spring Season champion Indy Eleven looks to keep its place near the top of the table against Miami FC.
Minnesota United looks to build off of its strong start against league leaders Rayo OKC, with the two teams separated by a mere two points.
Meanwhile, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers continue to search for their first win of the Fall Season against the struggling Jacksonville Armada.
New York Cosmos vs. Puerto Rico FC
Ottawa Fury vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies
Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs. Jacksonville Armada
Miami FC vs. Indy Eleven
Rayo OKC vs. Minnesota United
FC Edmonton vs. Carolina RailHawks
He was tabbed to be Liverpool’s opening day starter in goal, but Loris Karius could now miss the first two months of the Premier League season after suffering a hand injury in Wednesday’s International Champions Cup loss against Chelsea.
[ MORE: Real looking at Sissoko, Verratti as midfield options ]
The 23-year-old was brought to the Reds this summer from Bundesliga side Mainz for over $6 million.
Karius opted not to represent Germany at next month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in order to avoid missing any game action with Liverpool. Unfortunately, the young keeper will now likely miss between eight and 10 weeks.
His career ended over seven years ago, but former Italy international Christian Vieri is looking to make an improbable comeback in a country that continues to attract big stars.
The 43-year-old Vieri is reportedly coming out of retirement to join the Chinese Super League, and posted a video on Twitter confirming his plans.
Last playing in 2009, Vieri finished his career where it began — in Italy — with Atalanta. During his career, the striker played for 10 clubs in his native country, while also spending time in Spain and France with Atletico Madrid and Monaco, respectively.
Vieri made his name with Inter Milan, where he recorded six straight seasons with double-digit goals. At the height of his career with Internazionale, Vieri netted 27 times across all competitions during the 2002/03 season.