Possible reasons why Graham Zusi had such a masterful match, large and in charge of the home team’s attack Sunday as the men of Sporting Park clobbered Chivas USA, 4-0:
- A big summer is ahead, and Zusi still seems preferred over Landon Donovan as the man along Jurgen Klinsmann’s right side. It’s time to make sure his game is at highest rev.
- Chivas USA stuck to its 3-5-2 formation. Good for the Goats to go on the road with intent to attack. On the other hand, Zusi and his two fellow forwards in Peter Vermes’ usual 4-3-3 had tons of room in which to operate. And they put it to brilliant use.
- Kei Kamara is on his way back, which could put a possible squeeze on starting positions around Sporting Park. It seems unlikely that Zusi would move to the bench. Still, athletes are athletes, quite competitive in DNA design. Maybe the man was thinking “statement.”
Or, maybe we don’t look at the reasons. Maybe we just look at Zusi’s performance Sunday at Sporting Park with the proper awe. Aside from running the show, look at the fifth-year pro’s output:
It included a goal and an assist in the weekend’s showpiece win around MLS. Plus, it was Zusi’s wonderful through ball that sprang Paulo Nagamura in the second half, forcing a trip from Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy that turned into a controversial red card, which effectively sealed the deal for SKC.
His goal was just a solid finish, the final product of a smart run, the reward for being willing to make the hard run at the right time. The real work, however, was in Zusi’s larger body of work.
Here’s the ball out of midfield for Nagamura that help finish off Sunday’s visitors, who were already weary and wobbling by this point.
PRAGUE (AP) Czech champion Viktoria Plzen is close to signing Austrian midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz.
Plzen says Ivanschitz agreed terms for a contract lasting 1 + seasons and will sign it when the team returns from a training camp in Spain. Ivanschitz has already joined the squad at the Oliva Nova resort, the club says.
Ivanschitz helped the Seattle Sounders win their first MLS Cup in December.
[ NEW HOMES: Fonte | Berahino ]
No financial details were given.
The 33-year-old Ivanschitz also played for Rapid Vienna and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, Mainz in the Bundesliga, Levante in Spain and Panathinaikos in Athens.
Ivanschitz played 69 games for Austria in 2003-14, scoring 12 goals.
Joel Matip is going to get to play for Liverpool during AFCON after all.
The center back had turned down the chance to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Liverpool was forced to apply to FIFA for a waiver.
[ PL PREVIEW: Swansea vs. Liverpool ]
Matip suffered an ankle injury in December, adding to his desire to stay at Anfield. He declared himself internationally retired and was one of six Cameroon players who refused call-ups for AFCON.
He last played for the Reds on Dec. 11, and can be selected by Jurgen Klopp against Swansea City on Saturday.
MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says he raised 1.2 million pounds ($1.5 million) from a friendly game against former club Everton last year.
That represents the profits, after operational costs, from August’s sellout match at Old Trafford and goes toward the Wayne Rooney Foundation’s target of raising 5 million pounds for children’s charities.
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Rooney said: “I’d like to thank all the fans who came to the testimonial and made it such a special night. They’ve raised a huge amount of money for children who are disadvantaged and it will make a real difference to their lives.”
Rooney is one goal from breaking Manchester United’s scoring record, with the striker currently tied with Bobby Charlton on 249 goals.
Rooney joined United from Everton in 2004.
Robert Lewandowski picked up where he left off.
The Polish striker scored twice for Bayern Munich, once in stoppage time, as the Bavarians improved their Bundesliga lead to six points after toppling Freiburg 2-1 on Friday.
[ MORE: Bundesliga second half preview ]
And what a winner it was, Lewandowski taking a Douglas Costa cross with two juggling touches before hitting an offspeed bouncer inside the post.
It was the league’s first match following the winter/holiday break, giving Bayern a cushion before RB Leipzig takes the pitch against Eintracht Frankfurt in a Top Five tilt on Saturday.
Lewandowski moves closer to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the goal scoring chart. His 13th and 14th goals have him two back of Borussia Dortmund’s striker, as Lewandowski pursues a third Golden Boot in four seasons.
Full Weekend Schedule
Freiburg 1-2 Bayern Munich — Friday
Augsburg vs. Hoffenheim — Saturday
Schalke vs. Ingolstadt — Saturday
Darmstadt vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — Saturday
Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Dortmund — Saturday
Wolfsburg vs. Hamburger SV — Saturday
RB Leipzig vs. Eintracht Frankfurt — Saturday
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hertha Berlin — Sunday
Mainz vs. Koln — Sunday