Young Toronto FC goalkeeper Joe Bendik went 92-plus minutes making big save after big save, nearly rescuing all three points as the young, rebuilt Reds visited Philadelphia’s PPL Park on Saturday.
The Union, getting its top three attackers into the starting lineup together for the first time this year (Conor Casey, Jack McInerney and Sebastien Le Toux), had most of the offense, just as you might expect against a visitor playing with lots of resolve, but still short on top talent.
Bendik, still playing for presumed Reds No. 1 Stefan Frei, who just cannot get healthy, hardly looked like a backup in turning away one Union shot after another. Finally, in the third minute of stoppage time, McInerney was forgotten about at the far post and had the easiest of stick-aways for the late, late home-team equalizer.
Still, Bendik was as responsible as anyone for guiding his club to a point on the road. TFC manager Ryan Nelsen will surely take it; any road point is a good one for TFC in 2013.
Here is what veteran Irish defender Darren O’Dea had to say post-game about his unheralded 23-year-old goalkeeper from Huntington, N.Y.:
He’s been brilliant since he’s come in. How he was the No. 2 in Portland last year – they must have had a very good No. 1 to keep him out. He’s obviously very young, but he’s been excellent. … We’re blessed this year with a fantastic set of goalkeepers and a fantastic goalkeeper coach. It pays off, because goalkeepers are massive part, especially away from home, of picking up points.”
And here is the full package of match highlights, which could easily be re-labeled “The Joe Bendik highlight pack.”
In a shocking twist, Chelsea could be prepared to bring back a former defender.
The Blues are reportedly lining up a bid for Brazilian central defender David Luiz, who exited the club two years ago to head to Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1. According to Daily Mail, Chelsea would pay up to roughly $41 million for the PSG centerback.
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Back in 2014, Chelsea received an astounding $65 million for Luiz from the French champions, but he has quickly grown out of favor with the club.
New manager Antonio Conte is looking to sure up the backline before end of the transfer window, and Luiz appears to be a final effort to do that after missing out on several defenders, including Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly.
AS is reporting that Tottenham could be in for Real Madrid midfielder Isco.
While Spurs currently boast one of the youngest and most promising teams in the Premier League, Mauricio Pochettino is reportedly keen on adding another playmaker into the fold as Isco’s future in Madrid is unknown.
Isco would leave on a loan deal, and while Spurs are seen as a contender for the Spaniard, Malaga is said to be interested in the player as well.
Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala could be on his way to Porto after joining the English side two years ago.
According to the Guardian, the 25-year-old would likely return to the Portuguese side on loan after disappointing for the Citizens since his arrival in 2014.
With the addition of John Stones this summer, Mangala has fallen further down the pecking order with new manager Pep Guardiola.
Middlesbrough has impressed at times during its return to the Premier League this season, and now the club looks to bolster its backline as the transfer window closes.
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The club announced the loan signing of Arsenal defender Calum Chambers on Tuesday, providing the Boro with a promising young player to contribute in the back.
Chambers, 21, has made 58 appearances in the PL with both the Gunners and Southampton, while also earning three caps for England.
Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka revaled his excitement over the signing, while also stating that the player addresses a big need on the backline.
“I’m really pleased,” said Karanka. “It’s a position where we’ve been working towards bringing the right player in. We haven’t been in a hurry because Calum was the player we were waiting for, and he’s going to help us a lot.”
The Gunners have been heavily criticized for not spending enough during the transfer season, however, Arsene Wenger has gotten the man he wanted to help out defensively.
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Arsenal announced the signing of Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi on Tuesday, after the German centerback had been previously been linked to the club for some time as their top transfer target.
Mustafi will likely figure immediately into the Arsenal defense, which has also added Rob Holding this summer. The 24-year-old made over 64 appearances for Valencia while in La Liga after beginning his academy career in England with Everton.
Hope Solo hasn’t had the best couple of weeks since the U.S. Women’s National Team bailed out of the 2016 Olympics.
On Tuesday, the U.S. keeper announced her decision to take a step back from her club team as well after receiving a six-month ban from U.S. Soccer.
The veteran American shot stopper took to Twitter to make her decision known, leaving her status unknown with the Seattle Reign in the future. Solo remains under contract until the end of the current campaign, however, it is not known as to how her decision to sit out will affect her financially.
Solo wil be eligible to return to the USWNT in February, but it will be up to head coach Jill Ellis to reintroduce the 35-year-old into the fold.