Justin Mapp

Starry nights: MLS Team of the Week – Round 10

3 Comments

ProSoccerTalk’s Best XI from Week 10 in Major League Soccer includes a lot of good men on the defensive end.

Goalkeeper:

  • New England Revolution’s Bobby Shuttleworth

Why we like him: When a good team (the Portland Timbers) gets shut out at home and walks away saying, in effect, “We played pretty good in this one,” you can bet there’s a goalkeeping performance worthy of a long, slow applause. Shuttleworth’s work (nine saves) in Thursday’s scoreless draw certainly applies.

Back line:

  • Real Salt Lake’s Chris Wingert
  • Houston Dynamo’s Bobby Boswell
  • New York Red Bull’s Jamison Olave
  • Real Salt Lake’s Nat Borchers
  • Portland Timbers’ Michael Harrington

Why we like them: Boswell was among the best Dynamo men in a big 1-0 win over the Galaxy, a rematch of the last two MLS Cup finals. Harrington probably doesn’t get enough credit for his work around Jeld-Wen. His passing is still too erratic, but the man’s one-on-one defending is rock solid. It was in last week’s draw with New England.

Wingert, now healthy again, played along the left for RSL and provided a big push (along with accurate crossing) in a 2-0 win over Vancouver. Alongside Wingert on the Rio Tinto back line was Borchers, whose goal-line clearance helped keep this one under control.

Olave was Olave in the Red Bulls latest road triumph, a really good one, 1-0 in Columbus. We’ll say it again: he’s top 2-3 among league center backs when he’s healthy. When he is healthy.

Midfield:

  • Philadelphia’s Danny Cruz
  • Sporting Kansas City’s Graham Zusi
  • New York Red Bulls’ Tim Cahill
  • Montreal Impact’s Justin Mapp (pictured)

Why we like them: The cynic may say that Cruz’s two goals were “right place, right time” stuff. But each and every week we see guys pop up in the right spots, but unable to seal the deal. Cruz finished with authority. Twice!

Zusi had a goal and assist and ran the attack in SKC’s romp-and-stomp over Chivas USA, 4-0.

Cahill has a goal or assist in three consecutive matches, the league’s longest active streak. His goal Saturday in Columbus wasn’t just his third in two matches, it was the difference as Mike Petke’s in-form team won its third in a row away from Red Bull Arena.

Forward:

  • Sporting Kansas City’s Claudio Bieler

Why we like them: Beiler’s pair gives him six for the year. So, make room Mike Magee and Jack McInerney; SKC’s striker now shares the league with those guys.

Southampton: Van Dijk won’t leave, selling days likely done

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29:  Ralph Krueger the Southampton Chairman looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Newcastle United at St Mary's Stadium on March 29, 2014 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ralph Krueger doesn’t plan on selling any more big Southampton stars, and there’s none brighter than Virgil Van Dijk.

The Dutchman is perhaps the best center back in the Premier League, regularly linked with transfers to anywhere from Manchester City to Liverpool.

[ MORE: Liverpool hires new CEO ]

But Krueger says Saints have had enough of selling big assets. Southampton has sold Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Sadio Mane, and Nathaniel Clyne in the past three seasons, and those are just the names to go to Liverpool. Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama have also moved on from St. Mary’s.

From Sky Sports:

“We would like to move away from that and we feel confident this summer will be a lot quieter in Southampton and we can keep the core of this team moving forward for a few years.

“That is going to be important when you see how excellent the group is right now and how exciting the football is. The game we are playing is a pleasure to watch and a pleasure to be part of.”

Saints were the more effective side in a 3-2 EFL Cup Final loss to Manchester United this weekend, but are well off the pace in the race to make back-to-back trips into Europe.

It will be hard to hold onto Van Dijk and even new bright light Manolo Gabbiadini without Europe, but Krueger is a strong leader with the ability to convince almost anyone to buy into a plan.

Real Salt Lake signs Plata to multi-year DP deal

Real Salt Lake forward Joao Plata (8) gestures while walking during an MLS soccer game against New York City FC Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Sandy, Utah. (Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP) DESERET NEWS OUT; LOCAL TELEVISION OUT; MAGS OUT
Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP
Leave a comment

SANDY, Utah (AP) Real Salt Lake has re-signed forward Joao Plata to a multi-year contract and he will continue to hold a designated-player spot.

The 24-year-old was acquired from Toronto FC before the 2013 season and he has 30 goals and 30 assists in regular-season play with RSL.

[ MORE: Liverpool flops vs LCFC ]

Plata ranks No. 3 on the team’s all-time assists list and No. 5 in goals. He has 33 goals and 35 assists during his MLS career.

Real Salt Lake begins the season Saturday when it hosts Toronto FC.

Gotze out indefinitely with metabolism disorder

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - NOVEMBER 06:  Mario Goetze (R) and Ann-Kathrin Broemmel attend the MTV Europe Music Awards 2016 on November 6, 2016 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for MTV)
Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for MTV
Leave a comment

Mario Gotze’s last few seasons have not fulfilled the expectations thrust about the World Cup-winning attacker.

Gotze, 24, scored the 113th minute goal that lifted Germany past Argentina in the 2014 World Cup, but has endured successive disappointing seasons between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

[ MORE: Liverpool hires new CEO ]

With just two goals this season, Gotze has played just 24 minutes since BVB came back from winter break. On Monday, the club revealed why: a metabolism disorder that will keep him out for an indefinite period of time. From Sky Sports:

“We are glad to know the reasons for Mario’s complaints and we are convinced that after recovering he will give us extra quality with his exceptional abilities,” said Dortmund’s director of sport Michael Zorc.

“Mario gets the full backing and maximum support from all of us at Borussia Dortmund on his way back.”

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Gotze at his best, and here’s hoping this problem is both curable and the reason for his struggles.

Liverpool hires EA Sports executive as new CEO

Leave a comment

Liverpool has named Peter Moore as the successor to chief executive office Ian Ayre.

Ayre, 53, is off to 1860 Munich this summer, and has stepped down early to allow Moore to take over.

[ MORE: Liverpool flops vs LCFC ]

A Liverpool-born executive, Moore was the chief operating officer at EA Sports and has also worked with Microsoft and SEGA.

The move “completes a transitional phase” which saw several new names join the fray. From The Liverpool Echo:

The appointment completes a transition plan by FSG which included appointing Michael Edwards as sporting director while Billy Hogan was promoted to the role of managing director and chief commercial officer.