News that two-time MLS Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski has a new contract worth about $600,000 takes one pressure point away from the San Jose Earthquakes, where a litany of injuries has dented the preseason for last year’s Supporters Shield winner.
SI.com’s Grant Wahl had the story Monday night, reporting that the contract is for four years, including three guaranteed.
The Earthquakes had previously had been slow to dive into Major League Soccer’s Designated Player game. Teams are allowed three; the Earthquakes had none on roster before Monday’s announcement. Wondolowski was the team’s highest paid player at a salary of about $300,000, which is below the DP threshold.
(Commanding center back Victor Bernardez, by the way, was surely the bargain of Major League Soccer in 2012, an MLS Best XI defender who made just $100,000 during his first MLS season. The league’s 2012 salaries, listed by club, are here.)
Reports last fall that Wondolowski would demand a salary close to $1 million a year during winter negotiations proved measurably off base. Not that he probably is not worth it.
Last year Wondolowski tied the MLS single season record for goals, hitting 27 times while equaling a record set in 1996 (by Roy Lassiter) during a very different time in Major League Soccer.
No one has come close to matching Wondolowski’s production over the last three years; he has 61 goals in that time.
Goals from Mohamed Salah and Philippe Coutinho helped Liverpool come back from an early deficit to win the PL Asia Trophy on Saturday in Hong Kong.
Islam Slimani gave Leicester City an early lead in front of a heavy pro-Liverpool crowd at Hong Kong Stadium, but Coutinho delivered the goods on both goals in a 2-1 win.
The tournament win is Liverpool’s first in its second trip to the PL Asia Trophy Final.
[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]
First he crossed for Salah to head home, and then he scored the above goal by cutting in from the left and lashing a shot past a flailing Kasper Schmeichel.
We’ve seen this one before from Coutinho, just not on this particular continent. The Brazilian remains a Barcelona target, but looks prepared for the season in whatever land he sets foot.
Neymar and Alexis Sanchez to Paris? Brazil and Chile’s finest living as one? Reunited and it feels so French?
The latter’s talents will see Arsenal’s resolve tested by a $46 million bid, according to Sky Sports, though Gunners manager Arsene Wenger has been adamant that Sanchez will not be sold this summer.
Reports circled last year that Arsenal was prepared to offer Sanchez and Mesut Ozil record deals to stay at the club, though PSG has reportedly met with Sanchez and his agent with ideas of incredible $650,000 per week wages at the Parc des Princes.
[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]
A source also told Sky Sports that it would take “a miracle” for Neymar to remain at Barcelona, so that Sanchez/Edinson Cavani/Neymar trident could be coming to a theater near you.
Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino is hopeful of convincing Virgil Van Dijk to stay at St. Mary’s, but for now he’s been forced to ask the defender to take time away from the club.
Van Dijk, hopeful to engineer a move to a UEFA Champions League club, has not been in the preferred mental state for Pellegrino.
“When I was talking with him, the boy said that he is not available to play because he wants to leave. I need to work with a player that works at 100 percent to defend Southampton. This is the decision. I had to say: ‘OK, if you don’t want to be involved because you don’t feel OK, you have to train alone until this period of time.'”
Liverpool publicly ended their interest in Van Dijk following Southampton complaints, and the club maintains it will not sell the influential center back.
West Ham’s loan move for Joe Hart could see both of its 2016-17 goalkeepers leaving the London Stadium. Multiple reports say Darren Randolph could be off to Middlesbrough, with Adrian also heading to the Northeast to play for countryman Rafa Benitez at Newcastle.
Goals from Luka Milivojevic and Bakary Sako led Crystal Palace to a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in the third place game of the PL Asia Trophy.
Palace had lost 2-0 to Liverpool in its semifinal, while West Brom fell to Leicester City in penalty kicks after trading goals over 90 minutes.
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Milivojevic’s free kick, won by Wilfried Zaha, was super. Whipped in with force and a wicked curl, Baggies keeper Ben Foster didn’t have a chance to reach it with his dive.
Sako created his goal with a darting move off a long dribble, though it needed a pair of deflections to get behind Foster.
The Baggies had their chances, and Julian Speroni made an outstanding save on Matty Phillips late in the match.
Goals from Bakary Sako and Luka Milivojevic spearheaded Crystal Palace’s 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in the PL Asia Trophy third place game, and now Liverpool and Leicester City tangle for the title.
The final will be staged at 8:30 a.m. ET, when Liverpool will hope to build on a 2-0 semifinal win paced by Divock Origi and Dominic Solanke goals.
[ LIVE: Stream PL Asia Trophy here ]
West Brom lost to Leicester City in its semifinal when youngster Sam Field missed the side’s seventh attempt in penalty kicks. Jay Rodriguez scored the Baggies goal in regulation of a 1-1 draw.
Here are the lineups for Leicester City and Liverpool: