Crewe Alexandra v Bolton Wanderers - Pre Season Friendly

Davies close to Toronto FC move?


Rumors began to circle at the start of this week about EPL veteran Kevin Davies moving to Toronto FC. Now it almost seems like a done deal.

Today the Bolton News revealed that Davies has been allowed to leave his contract early, as a good will gesture, to get his move to MLS signed and sealed as quickly as possible.

In recent months, the 36-year-old striker has seen himself out of contention for the Trotters Championship playoff push, after not making the 18-man squad for the past few games. It is rumored that Davies’ contract with Toronto would be for the rest of the season.

Davies has scored 144 goals in 714 career appearances for the likes of Chesterfield, Blackburn and Southampton and he has one England cap to his name. The target man has spent over a decade helping Wanderers survive and then flourish in the EPL.

However with the drop down to the Championship after relegation last year, new manager Dougie Freedman has decided Davies is surplus to requirements and had not offered the bruising Englishman a new deal at the Reebok Stadium.

Davies would certainly fit in with Ryan Nelsen’s plans at TFC. As the ex-Blackburn, Tottenham and QPR defender has used his extensive links in the English game to recruit plenty of players with EPL experience to Toronto already.

If I was a Toronto FC fan, I’d be extremely happy with the addition of Davies. Partnering Robert Earnshaw up front, Davies would win all kinds of knockdowns for Earnshaw to latch onto and the duo could become one of the most feared strike partnerships in MLS.

The deal obviously isn’t official yet. But it does seem to be gathering steam. With Davies out of contract and a few more years left in his legs, a move to TFC would be a tremendous fit as Nelsen continues to turn the fortunes of the Canadian club around.

Davies has been granted a testimonial with Bolton, so his move across the pond may not be as imminent as some hope. But the fact that they’re allowing him to leave before his contract runs out in June, suggests that willing suitors are already lined up. Toronto FC, its over to you.

By pairing a battering ram forward and a small, nippy striker who knows how to finish…it takes me back to the glory days of Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips at Sunderland! TFC fans, you could be in for a treat with Davies and Earnshaw.

EFL Cup Tues. preview: Spurs-Reds, plenty of non-PL participants

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27:  Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur in action during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at White Hart Lane on August 27, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
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Sixteen teams remain in the battle to clinch the Premier League’s first European place of next season’s tournament, and we have some tremendous battles on tap for Tuesday and Wednesday in the EFL Cup (formerly the League Cup).

Today we focus on the 24 hours ahead of us, focusing on Tuesday’s five matches and allowing the Manchester Derby, West Ham-Chelsea, and Southampton-Sunderland to percolate a bit.

[ MORE: Finland’s “Leicester” gets it done ]

That’s not to say we don’t have a pair of giants dueling on Tuesday. Liverpool is three wins away from a return to the final, where the Reds fell in penalties last season. Standing in their way is Tottenham Hotspur, a deep squad which won’t have to worry much about a quick turnaround from Saturday.

That said, the Reds didn’t have to play at all last week, while this will be Spurs third match in a week. Spurs have been to the EFL Cup final thrice since 2008, and one of two teams (Chelsea) to make three finals this decade. Liverpool will start Simon Mignolet between the sticks.

The remaining four EFL Cup matches include at least one team outside the Premier League.

Arsenal will host USMNT midfielder Danny Williams and Reading.

— Hull City is off to Ashton Gate to face Bristol City.

— Newcastle United is leading the Championship, and will get a visit from Preston North End in the first of two matches between the two sides this week.

— Norwich City will pay a visit to Elland Road and Garry Monk‘s Leeds United.

FC Dallas gave injured Mauro Diaz a home champagne shower (video)

FRISCO, TX - APRIL 12:  Mauro Diaz #10 of the FC Dallas controls the ball against the Seattle Sounders FC on April 12, 2014 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.  (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images
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FC Dallas has two jewels of its triple crown all set, having claimed the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the Supporters’ Shield.

One of the key reasons the club was able to sustain its pace this season was Mauro Diaz, 25, who shone even as Fabian Castillo shockingly left the club before the stretch run.

[ MORE: MLS Cup predictions ]

A River Plate product, Diaz gave FCD seven goals and 15 assists over 32 appearances before tearing an achilles tendon last week.

Diaz underwent season-ending surgery, but his teammates made sure he was a part of the champagne celebration by heading to his very nice-looking house for an early morning visit.

[ MORE: Pre-playoff power rankings ]


VIDEO: Premier League Player of the Week – Matchday 9

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There was some eye-popping moments in the Premier League this weekend, yet still very little debate who shone brightest.

Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri scored a pair of Goal of the Month competitors in the same day in the Potters’ 2-0 win at Hull City on Monday.

[ MORE: MLS Cup predictions ]

The first was a curling wonder from distance, while the second came from a bit closer as the big-calfed Swiss attacker bamboozled the Hull wall and goalkeeper.

The Potters are up to 16th in the Premier League table with nine points.

Finnish fans celebrate surprise title for IFK Mariehamn

IFK Mariehamm
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HELSINKI (AP) Fans of IFK Mariehamn have gathered in the main square of the remote Finnish town to celebrate their team’s surprise league title.

“I feel very proud,” the club’s managing director, Peter Mattsson, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Monday, adding that “thousands” were expected to turn up for the party.

Watched by more than 4,000, Mariehamn clinched the Finnish title on Sunday with a 2-1 home victory over Ilves, from the industrial city of Tampere.

[ MORE: Full MLS Cup bracket ]

Mariehamn held off 11 other teams, including the traditionally strong Helsinki club, HJK, and defending champion SJK from western Finland. It ended three points clear of second-placed HJK for its first league title.

Local media dubbed the team “Leicester” after the surprise English Premier League champions last season.

Mariehamn, which has a population of 11,500, is the capital of the Aland islands off the southwestern Finnish coast