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Major League Soccer’s all-newcomer team (early version)

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In some years, a new MLS man who walked out onto a field without tripping over the white line as he debuted might have a fairly good chance of qualifying for an MLS All-New Man team.

Not in 2013. Major League Soccer’s opening weekend was stacked with promising performances from rookies or newly arrived names from lands beyond.

Here’s our All-MLS Newbie team from opening weekend. (Restricted to men brand new to the league; i.e., no MLS vets who changed addresses in the offseason allowed.)

GOALKEEPER:

  • FC Dallas’ Raul Fernandez

Why we like him: FC Dallas’ new Peruvian backstopper gets a little edge over LA Galaxy’s Carlo Cudicini, who didn’t have a busy day but still made one major mess of things.

BACK LINE

  • Columbus Crew’s Glauber
  • Portland Timbers’ Ryan Miller
  • Seattle Sounders’ DeAndre Yedlin

Why we like them: Glauber will have tougher tests ahead, but a shutout for the veteran  Brazlian and his back line mates against rebuilt Chivas USA was surely a worthy start. In the Rose City, Diego Valeri will grab up most of the new-guy buzz, but Ryan Miller’s determination to get forward and do damage along the right side was impressive. Yedlin also started at right back for his team, and the youngest man to ever start a league match for the Sounders more than held his own. (Doing so against MLS vet Justin Mapp.)

Oh, about the prominent name you might see missing: Don’t worry, Mikael Silvestre, you’ll get ’em next time!

MIDFIELD

  • Vancouver Whitecaps’ Nigel Reo-Coker
  • Portland Timbers’ Diego Valeri (pictured)
  • Toronto FC’s Kyle Bekker
  • Vancouver Whitecaps’ Kekuta Manneh

Why we like them: Valeri was a baaaaad man in his Jeld-Wen debut, as anyone there will tell you. We’re talking early (early, early!) candidate for MLS Newcomer of the Year stuff here. We talked about Reo-Coker’s big influence here. And then he talked about it here. Manneh, newly arrived from the Austin Aztex, was sometimes a handful along the Whitecaps’ right side. Bekker, working all the way, will be in Rookie of the Year conversations going forward.

FRONT LINE

  • Sporting Kansas City’s Claudio Bieler
  • Chivas USA’s Julio Morales
  • Colorado Rapids’ Deshorn Brown

Why we like them: About Brown, the Colorado Rapids’ rookie and No. 6 overall pick in this year’s draft: The kid has got something. Same for Chivas USA’s Julio Morales, who showed he could be dangerous over 45 minutes with the rebuilt Goats. Bieler arranged one goal and scored a nice him for himself in his debut for Sporting KC.

Gerrard urges Liverpool to “try and bid for Van Dijk”

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 28:  Virgil van Dijk of Southampton celebrates as he scores their first goal during the Premier League match between Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary's Stadium on December 28, 2016 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
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Virgil Van Dijk‘s quick rise in the Premier League has caught the attention of many around England, and one of the division’s greats has high hopes the Dutchman will join his former side in the future.

[ MORE: Saints wallop Leicester in complete effort ]

Steven Gerrard has suggested that Liverpool come out and pursue Van Dijk, who joined Southampton back in 2015 from Scottish side Celtic.

Gerrard — who is set to take a coaching position with Liverpool’s academy — believes the budding star would be a strong fit for the Reds, however, the ex-midfielder realizes it’ll be a hard sell.

“Who I think we need, I would go and try and bid for Van Dijk from Southampton,” Gerrard told BT Sport. “But we’ve had enough of their players so that will probably go down like a lead balloon.”

The 25-year-old has made waves in England’s top flight after quickly proving to be one of the division’s top defenders and helping guide the Saints towards the top half of the table since his arrival.

Report: San Diego making push to become future MLS expansion site

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With the NFL no longer the biggest show in town, San Diego could be bringing another football to the city in the near future.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Hyndman provides assist in Rangers debut win ]

According to NBC 7 San Diego, FS Investors founder Mike Stone and former Qualcomm Vice Chairman Steve Altman are prepared to reveal their proposal on Monday that will bring a future MLS franchise to San Diego.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

The proposed move includes a stadium plan that will reside where the Chargers’ Qualcomm Stadium currently sits. With the NFL franchise now playing in Los Angeles, the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball are the only remaining professional team in the area, out of the five major sports in the U.S.

NBC 7 is also reporting that a future San Diego team would share its facility with the San Diego State Aztecs football team.

MLS is currently up to 22 teams entering the 2017 season, while Los Angeles FC is also tabbed to enter the league next year. David Beckham’s Miami project is also considered to be the league’s 24th team, and MLS is likely to hold off on further announcements regarding expansion until later in 2017.

If San Diego were to be chosen as an expansion site, the club would become the fourth to call California home in the current state of MLS, joining the San Jose Earthquakes, Los Angeles Galaxy and LA FC (2018).

In addition to San Diego, several other cities are currently vying to enter MLS in the future, including St. Louis, Cincinnati, Sacramento and Charlotte.

Hull’s Ryan Mason hospitalized following collision with Gary Cahill

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 22: Ryan Mason of Hull City lies injured after the collision with Gary Cahill of Chelsea during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Hull City at Stamford Bridge on January 22, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
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Ryan Mason has undergone surgery following a scary collision with Chelsea’s Gary Cahill on Sunday.

[ MORE: Chelsea goes eight points clear at top of PL ]

The Hull City midfielder was injured after knocking heads with Cahill during first half of the 2-0 defeat to the Blues. Nine minutes of first-half stoppage time were needed after Mason stayed down on the pitch at Stamford Bridge.

[ MORE: Xhaka’s red card makes him most sent-off player in Europe ]

It has been confirmed by the club that Mason suffered a skull fracture, while it is has also been speculated that the 25-year-old could have had bleeding on his brain.

Mason will remain hospitalized for the “next few days,” according to the Tigers.

“The Club can confirm that Ryan Mason sustained a skull fracture in our fixture at Chelsea this afternoon. He was taken to St Mary’s Hospital where he has undergone surgery.

“Ryan is in a stable condition and is expected to remain in hospital for the next few days.
“Everyone at the Club would like to express their sincere thanks for the excellent and swift care given to Ryan by both the Accident and Emergency department and Neurosurgery Unit at St Mary’s Hospital.

“A further update will be issued tomorrow.”

While Mason was forced off during the match due to the injury, Cahill managed to continue for Chelsea and scored the game’s second goal.

Watch: Scott Sinclair nets stunning curler in Celtic victory

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Celtic is enjoying another fine campaign in Scotland, and much of the team’s success can be attributed to the play of Scott Sinclair.

[ MORE: Burkina Faso, Cameroon progress at AFCON 2017 ]

The Englishman was at it again on Sunday during Celtic’s 3-0 Scottish Cup win over Albion Rovers when the 27-year-old curled an absolutely sublime effort into the top corner for the game’s opening goal.

The finish, Sinclair’s 13th of the season in all competitions, came after the winger picked up the ball on the left side of the Albion penalty area. Sinclair then proceeded to slot his dipping shot just under the bar and into the far post.

Celtic now moves on to the fifth round of this season’s tournament, joining the likes of Rangers and Aberdeen. In addition to the team’s success in the competition, the Bhoys have yet to lose a match in the Scottish Premier League this campaign (19 W, 1 D).