MLS All Star Game Soccer

Major League Soccer positional Top Tens: STRIKERS

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Over the course of our rankings we’re editorialized about lists that were thin or difficult to decide. The striker list was neither. A position primarily judged by goals makes it easy to do an initial sort.

After that, you look for mitigating factors – things which transcend the goals: What’s the player doing to create for others? Were there factors that make the goal total deceiving? In the games that mattered most, did the player perform beyond his numbers? Given a sane general manager, which player’s more likely to be picked to join a team?

(MORE: full roster of our MLS preseason previews and predictions)

If you keep those questions in mind, this order makes more sense. Not that everybody’s going to agree with our Top 10 Strikers in Major League Soccer:

1. New York Red Bulls’ Thierry Henry (pictured) >

2. LA Galaxy’s Robbie Keane >

3. San Jose Earthquakes’ Chris Wondolowski >
Any of these top three are “right”. Just depends what you want from a striker. Wondo’s Mr. Reliable. Henry’s got all the talent. Keane delivers when it counts. Ask around the league and Henry’s still the man, but No. 2 on this list? He has two rings and is coming off 22 all-competition goals last season. Oh, and the other guy is an MVP who just tied a record for goals in a season … so there’s that.

4. Seattle Sounders’ Eddie Johnson

5. Real Salt Lake’s Alvaro Saborio

6. Vancouver Whitecaps’ Darren Mattocks

7. Montreal Impact’s Marco Di Vaio >
How can this guy be this low (some will ask)? Five goals in 17 games last season, 10 goals in 37 during his final year in Italy, and the guy turns 37 in July. You tell me which direction this line’s heading.

8. FC Dallas’ Kenny Cooper >
Eighteen goals argues Cooper should be higher, but there’s also an argument to leave him off the list entirely. On a list that’s claiming Thierry Henry’s the best in the league, it’s reasonable to assume Cooper’s totals were significantly bolstered by the talent around him. How much were they helped? After his Henry-less year in Portland, Cooper wouldn’t have been on this list, and his time overseas wasn’t much more impressive.

9. Houston Dynamo’s Will Bruin >
Bruin proved in the playoffs that his abilities already transcend his numbers. He hasn’t put up a big goal total yet, but which of Dom Kinnear’s target men ever has?

10. New England Revolution’s Saer Sene

Shakhtar Donetsk 2-2 Sevilla: Gameiro, Vitolo give two-time champs an edge

Shakhtar Donetsk’s Facundo Ferreyra, left, competes for the ball with Sevilla’s Mariano during semifinal first leg of the Europa League soccer match, between FC Shakhtar Donetsk and Sevilla at Arena Lviv stadium in Lviv, western Ukraine, Thursday, April  28, 2016. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
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Vitolo scored a goal then drew a penalty, and Kevin Gameiro converted the chance as Sevilla picked up a pair of road goals in a 2-2 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk on Thursday in the first leg of the clubs’ UEFA Europa League semifinal.

Marlos had a goal and an assist for Shakhtar Donetsk, with Taras Stepanenko scoring Shakhtar’s other goal.

Sevilla has won the last two tournaments, and hosts Thursday’s second leg with an advantage toward reaching a third.

[ MORE: Watch full Premier League match replays ]

Gameiro set up that oh-so-pivotal road goal in the first 6 minutes, sliding the ball to Vitolo for his left-footed finish between the legs of Andriy Pyatov.

But the Ukranians weren’t slow to respond, and Shakhtar netted twice before halftime. First Marlos scored a left-footed of his own from Yaroslav Rakitskiy in the 21st minute, and then Marlos turned provider for Stepanenko’s headed finish in the 35th.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Villarreal strikes late to take first leg on Liverpool in Europa League semis

during the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain.
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Denis Suarez found Adrian Lopez in the third minute of stoppage time to lift Villarreal to a 1-0 home win over Liverpool in Thursday’s first leg of their UEFA Europa League semifinal.

There wasn’t much enjoyable about the match for either side until late, but Liverpool looked set to head to Anfield in search of a win. Now they’ll need more.

[ MORE: Watch full Premier League match replays ]

The timing was off early for Mexican attacker Jonathan dos Santos and Congolese striker Cedric Bakambu, and Simon Mignolet made a couple collections to get into the flow of the match.

Liverpool answered with a dangerous chance in the fifth minute, but Joe Allen‘s only alley was a pass directly to keeper Sergio Asenjo.

Roberto Soldado knifed a bouncing shot wide of the far post in the 11th minute, and would later curl a shot around Kolo Toure that didn’t finish its dramatic bend inside the field of play.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

The Yellow Submarine had the best of possession, but the Reds were stout in defense with the exception of some slips on the wet turf.

Roberto Firmino was the most dangerous Liverpool attacker, saved off the woodwork just over an hour into the match.

There wasn’t much threat coming from either camp before Mignolet made a terrific save on Bakambu in the 87th minute.

And Alberto Moreno sprung a near 60-yard run past the Villarreal back line, but couldn’t put his left-footed blast on net

Liverpool: Tribunal rules record payment due to Burnley in Ings case

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Danny Ings of Liverpool fends off Alan Hutton of Aston Villa during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Aston Villa at Anfield on September 26, 2015 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
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The Premier League has a new compensation record, as Burnley has received close to $12 million for Liverpool’s signing of Danny Ings after a tribunal’s ruling.

Ings, 23, was a transfer rumor mill mainstay but stayed through his contract at Turf Moor, earning the right to go anywhere on a free transfer.

[ MORE: Agbonlahor quits as Villa captain ]

But clubs have to pay compensation when signing players who are under the age of 24, and Burnley will get money from Liverpool.

From the BBC:

Burnley chief executive David Baldwin said: “This is an unprecedented record payment for training compensation and not a transfer fee.

“As the initial fee decided by the committee represents almost double the previous record for a tribunal, this fully justifies our decision to press ahead with what we felt was a fair reflection of the part Burnley played in Danny’s development.”

The Clarets will also receive 20 percent of any sell-on fees should Ings move to another club, and Bournemouth stands to make a small percentage as well. The Cherries sold Ings to Burnley in 2011.

Agbonlahor quits as captain of relegated Aston Villa

Leicester City v Aston Villa - Premier League
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BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) Gabby Agbonlahor has quit as Aston Villa captain and apologized for his off-field conduct.

The forward was pictured in a newspaper with what look like nitrous oxide – or laughing gas – canisters on the same night that Aston Villa’s relegation was confirmed after losing to Manchester United this month.

Villa announced that Agbonlahor’s suspension from the club has been lifted, while he has been fined.

[ MORE: Alli’s season is over ]

Agbonlahor wrote on his Instagram account: “I am stepping down as club captain with immediate effect, as I do not deserve to carry out such a role anymore … it hurts to have lost it.”

Agbonlahor is Villa’s longest serving current player and their record English Premier League goal-scorer, having netted 73 times since his debut in 2006.