No one around Portland is torn up by last night’s scoreless draw with New England. The Timbers certainly aren’t thrilled with split points at Jeld-Wen Field – but they created a bunch of chances, and that’s something.
More to the point, though, was the way Portland addressed New England’s defensively dug-in tactics. Rather than moaning and groaning about it, as we see the attack-minded occasionally do when visitors “park the bus,” they acknowledged not doing enough finishing to beat it.
That is the right attitude. No, I don’t want to see every MLS club playing this way on the road, all spit and grit and resolute defense, with a lone striker to hope for something on offense. And I do enjoy it when teams travel with intent to attack, the very way Portland did in last weekend’s victory at Kansas City.
But the reality is that teams will sometimes need to sit in and absorb. New England, short on defenders Thursday and woefully short on playoff appearances lately, can hardly be blamed for a bit of bus parking.
Problem solving is part of soccer, after all. The favorites need to score, which forces the defense-minded from the shell.
Here’s what veteran midfielder Will Johnson said about it, while noting what we told you in the previous post relating to last night’s scoreless draw, that New England is good on team defense.
No one has really taken into account that they’re a pretty good road team. They come in and park the bus. They sit everybody back and try to hit you with some of their more athletic guys on the counter. It’s pretty effective. It’s not the first place that it has worked and it’s not the last. It doesn’t have as much to do with us as what they did. The way you get them out of their shape is to punish them and we let them off the hook and it makes it easy for them.”
Take it or leave it.
Manchester City has made a final push for Everton defender John Stones, and has set its last offer at $52 million. Last month, the Citizens made the same exact bid for the 22-year-old, which was rejected by Everton.
[ MORE: Italian legend Christian Vieri looks to join Chinese Super League ]
City is said to be looking to avoid overpaying for Stones, after compensating Porto over $55 million for centerback Eliaquim Mangala two years ago.
While Stones has gone on record saying that he wants to play for manager Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium, it remains to be seen if Everton will part ways with its prized defender.
Following a midweek loss against FC Edmonton, the New York Cosmos will try to rebound at home against Puerto Rico FC.
The Cosmos currently have two losses during the Fall Season, having conceded 10 goals in six matches, which is the second-most in NASL.
[ MORE: MLS weekend preview ]
With no unbeatens remaining, Spring Season champion Indy Eleven looks to keep its place near the top of the table against Miami FC.
Minnesota United looks to build off of its strong start against league leaders Rayo OKC, with the two teams separated by a mere two points.
Meanwhile, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers continue to search for their first win of the Fall Season against the struggling Jacksonville Armada.
New York Cosmos vs. Puerto Rico FC
Ottawa Fury vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies
Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs. Jacksonville Armada
Miami FC vs. Indy Eleven
Rayo OKC vs. Minnesota United
FC Edmonton vs. Carolina RailHawks
He was tabbed to be Liverpool’s opening day starter in goal, but Loris Karius could now miss the first two months of the Premier League season after suffering a hand injury in Wednesday’s International Champions Cup loss against Chelsea.
[ MORE: Real looking at Sissoko, Verratti as midfield options ]
The 23-year-old was brought to the Reds this summer from Bundesliga side Mainz for over $6 million.
Karius opted not to represent Germany at next month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in order to avoid missing any game action with Liverpool. Unfortunately, the young keeper will now likely miss between eight and 10 weeks.
His career ended over seven years ago, but former Italy international Christian Vieri is looking to make an improbable comeback in a country that continues to attract big stars.
The 43-year-old Vieri is reportedly coming out of retirement to join the Chinese Super League, and posted a video on Twitter confirming his plans.
Last playing in 2009, Vieri finished his career where it began — in Italy — with Atalanta. During his career, the striker played for 10 clubs in his native country, while also spending time in Spain and France with Atletico Madrid and Monaco, respectively.
Vieri made his name with Inter Milan, where he recorded six straight seasons with double-digit goals. At the height of his career with Internazionale, Vieri netted 27 times across all competitions during the 2002/03 season.