Kenny Miller, Tyson Wahl

Starry nights: MLS Team of the Week – Round 2

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ProSoccerTalk’s Best XI from Week 2 in Major League Soccer includes a man one blogger called The Wizard of Earnshaw. I mean, how great is that!

Goalkeeper:

  • New England’s Matt Reis

Why we like them: His big save – no, let’s go with “massive” – on Dilly Duka’s wonderful first-half shot was a real game-saver as New England got the year started with three fairly massive points on the road.

Back line:

  • Montreal Impact’s Hassoun Camara
  • D.C. United’s Dejan Jakovic
  • Philadelphia Union’s Amobi Okugo
  • Toronto FC’s Darren O’Dea

Why we like them: Camara started his team’s scoring in a big road win with a spectacular overhead kick, then helped get the job done on defense. (Let’s face it, we’re a sucker for the overhead kick. Especially when it’s an outside back doing the overhead kicking.)

As for O’Dea, he got the job done for Ryan Nelsen’s team, then handed off all the credit.

Jakovic stepped into the challenges with just the right amount of force as D.C. United prevailed in its home opener, against RSL.

(MORE: Okugo is ProSoccerTalk’s MLS Player of the Week)

Midfield:

  • Montreal’s Patrice Bernier
  • Vancouver Whitcaps’s Kenny Miller (pictured)
  • Chivas USA’s Giovani Casillas

Why we like them: Remember how effective Portland’s Diego Valeri was last week. Well, Montreal’s Bernier sure does. And he was having none of that Saturday in Oregon, working hard to keep the Timbers’ playmaker under wraps as his team took the big road win to go 2-0.

Casillas played just less than half an hour for the Goats, but his introduction helped change the game as Chivas USA rallied from a goal down to give its new manager his first MLS victory.

In Vancouver, the veteran Scotsman took the armband from injured captain Jay DeMerit, then made everyone feel good about it, running the attack and capitalizing on a boo-boo to supply a confident game-winner over visiting Columbus.

Forwards:

  • Toronto FC’s Robert Earnshaw
  • New England’s Jerry Bengtson
  • San Jose’s Adam Jahn

Why we like them: The piece called TFC’s two-goal man The Wizard of Earnshaw. I mean, how great is that! Bengtson’s hold-up play was important, but his goal was technically perfect, and what a huge goal it was for New England, which opened the season with a win on the road.

Like Casillas, San Jose’s Jahn was a second-half game-changer off the bench. He got free for the Earthquakes’ late equalizer. Then he punished New York again by earning the penalty kick, which Chris Wondolowski converted, although not before a little bit more drama still.

Winter on Allardyce corruption allegations: “Touch and go whether he survives”

England international soccer team manager Sam Allardyce, centre, his assistant Sammy Lee, left, and FA chief executive Martin Glenn, right, applaud during the launch event of UEFA Euro 2020 and the unveiling of the tournament brand and the London host city logo at City Hall, in London, Wednesday Sept. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
AP Photo/Tim Ireland
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As details continue to unfold from the Telegraph’s sting operation that may’ve caught England manager Sam Allardyce in its grasp, the question of whether the ex-Sunderland man could be fired after just months on the job is moving to the forefront.

Allardyce, 61, is on tape talking about third party ownership of players — a big no-no for FIFA — and the words have some alleging that he is giving advice on how to buck the system.

[ MORE: Watford’s Deeney rages after loss]

Given that the manager has only overseen one match for the Three Lions and had been accused, but never charged, with accepting bribes from agents in 2006, some think he may not survive the issue.

Well-connected The Times of London writer Henry Winter says it’s possible.

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp pulls the rug out from armchair tacticians

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp spent time on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football set for Burnley’s 2-0 win over Watford, and proffered some fascinating comments.

The ones that had us quite delighted were some dismissive comments aimed at people who like talk about, even lament, the Reds’ “false nines” — boiled to its bone, an advanced attacking mid that assumes the striker’s role.

[ MORE: Allardyce in hot water ]

After all, most times a 4-5-1 and a 4-1-4-1 are essentially the same thing (and perhaps dictated more by how a match plays out). And when Liverpool is using Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino, or Divock Origi, it’s the player that matters as much as the formation (USMNT fans can consider how Bobby Wood and Clint Dempsey rotated around the top of Jurgen Klinsmann’s formation at the Copa America despite having a traditional given position in the Starting XI).

“To be honest, I don’t think about us having now a false nine or no nine or whatever it is. These players are all responsible for being in the opposition box in all situations there can be. “

Right. If an attack is moving ahead with just one man sitting high, that most advanced attacker is a forward. It doesn’t matter if that attacker has drifted out left on defense, or checked deeper into the formation when the other team has the ball. He’s a striker.

“A lot of people have got different views on it. Where’s the difference between 4-1-4-1 and 4-5-1, I don’t see it really.

“4-3-3, it depends on the situation you are in. For example, if you play a 4-3-3 with real wingers, like Holland played a few years ago, then it is different.”

Presumably, Klopp is speaking of the 4-3-3 employed by Louis Van Gaal at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, and Robin Van Persie forced defenses to stretch wide as well as long, and that is a genuine 4-3-3. It’s much different than an average formation graphic showing three players high and three players low. The spacing of the opposition and movement of the ball match demands that!

Tactics and techniques are a lot of fun to discuss and debate, but Klopp reminded us a fact that plays out in almost every match. Most times, when the ball is kicked in anger, it’s “about Jims and Joes, not X’s and O’s” as former University at Buffalo and current Canisius College men’s basketball coach Reggie Witherspoon liked to say.

England: Allardyce in hot water after controversial Telegraph report

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21:  England manager Sam Allardyce and his assistant Sammy Lee listen to speakers during the UEFA EURO 2020 launch event for London at City Hall on September 21, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images
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Sam Allardyce might be in a bit of trouble.

The England manager has been “caught” on tape by undercover Telegraph reporters in what’s being called a sting. Some of the banter is simply Allardyce being Allardyce — ripping on personalities he doesn’t like — and won’t affect much at all.

[ MORE: Watford’s Deeney rages after loss ]

Being outspoken isn’t a crime, after all. Other talk, though, could be quite damaging to the ex-Sunderland and Bolton boss. Allardyce reportedly flirted with getting big money to speak to a company that would be pitching third party ownership of players, which is strictly prohibited by FIFA.

From The Telegraph:

He agreed to travel to Singapore and Hong Kong as an ambassadorand explained to the “businessmen” how they could circumvent Football Association rules which prohibit third parties “owning” players.

Unbeknown to Allardyce, the businessmen were undercover reporters and he was being filmed as part of a 10-month Telegraph investigation that separately unearthed widespread evidence of bribery and corruption in British football.

The article is a part of an investigation the Telegraph claims will cause many problems for some big names in England over the coming days.

It could all come to nothing, though reports below show the Football Association will look into the Telegraph’s claims.

Watford’s Deeney raging after loss: “We got bullied to a man”

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Watford’s spirits have gone from the penthouse to outhouse in barely a week.

The Hornets hammered Manchester United last week only to look listless against Burnley at Turf Moor on Monday.

[ MATCH RECAP: Burnley 2-0 Watford ]

Outshone under the bright lights of Monday Night Football, Watford captain Troy Deeney is, in a word, angry.

From the BBC:

“Poor. I’ll have to watch my words or I’ll get in trouble. We got bullied to a man, Burnley stuck to their gameplan, fair play to them.

“We lost 2-0 on TV, we got run over and both goals could have been avoided. I’m very disappointed. You set high standards and if you don’t match them people will ask questions.”

With Bournemouth, Middlesbrough, Swansea City, and Hull City next on its Premier League docket, this is not a time for Watford to accept inconsistency.

To a man.