Manchester United signs David Moyes to 6-year contract; Praise for the Scot ensues

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After careful planning and some early gaffs, Manchester United confirmed the appointment of David Moyes as new manager of the club following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.

The Everton manager penned a six-year contract with United that is set to begin on July 1st meaning his first official game will be the August 11th Community Shield match against either Manchester City or Wigan.

Moyes’ contract at Everton was up for renewal on June 30th and for months the Scot resisted renewing, claiming the delay was due to everything from a desire to manage abroad to wanting to see whether the Toffees could qualify for Europe. All that went out the door on Friday when Moyes signed with United, confirming the 50 year old as the successor to Ferguson’s 27 year reign.

Speaking about his appointment as United’s new manager, Moyes said: “I am delighted that Sir Alex [Ferguson] saw fit to recommend me for the job. I have great respect for everything he has done and for the football club.

“I know how hard it will be to follow the best manager ever, but the opportunity to manage Manchester United isn’t something that comes around very often and I’m really looking forward to taking up the post next season.”

Moyes looked back on his time at Goodison Park fondly, noting his connection to chairman Bill Kenwright, the board, the players and the fans. “I have had a terrific job at Everton, with a tremendous chairman and board of directors and a great set of players,” the Scot said. “Between now and the end of the season, I will do everything in my power to make sure we finish as high as possible in the table.

“Everton’s fantastic fans have played a big part in making my years at Goodison so enjoyable and I thank them wholeheartedly for the support they have given me and the players. Everton will be close to me for the rest of my life.”

Ferguson, who will remain at United in a director and ambassador role, welcomed Moyes to Old Trafford declaring that the Everton manager was the only choice to replace him. “When we discussed the candidates that we felt had the right attributes we unanimously agreed on David Moyes,” said Ferguson.

“David is a man of great integrity with a strong work ethic. I’ve admired his work for a long time and approached him as far back as 1998 to discuss the position of Assistant Manager here. He was a young man then at the start of his career and has since gone on to do a magnificent job at Everton. There is no question he has all the qualities we expect of a manager at this Club.”

With the announcement of Moyes taking over at United, praise was heaped on the Scot from all corners of the Premier League. Here are some notable quotes:

Sir Bobby Charlton:

“I have always said that we wanted the next manager to be a genuine Manchester United man. In David Moyes, we have someone who understands the things that make this such a special club. We have secured a man who is committed to the long-term and will build teams for the future as well as now. Stability breeds success.”

United Chief Executive, Ed Woodward:

“In David Moyes, we have secured the services of an outstanding manager who has all the skills to build on the phenomenal legacy in place today. I have no doubt that he will bring an energy and commitment to deliver winning football that is part of the fabric of this Club.  In this respect, he is cut from the same cloth as the Old Trafford greats who go before him.”

Joel Glazer:

“[Moyes’] hard working style and steely determination are characteristics we value at the Club.  He has impressed as a coach for many years now and we strongly believe he will be able to take up from where Alex is leaving off by continuing this Club’s tradition of flair football played by exciting, world class players.”

Avie Glazer:

“The search for a new manager has been very short.  Alex was very clear with his recommendation and we are delighted that David has agreed to accept the job.   He comes to us with excellent credentials and a strong track record.”

Chelsea interim manager, Rafael Benitez:

“It is not easy to find someone like [Moyes] but he has experience in the Premier League, he knows the players, he knows the club and what it means in the Premier League, time will tell.”

Manchester United midfielder, Michael Carrick:

“I think he [Moyes] has obviously done a terrific job at Everton. . . . All the players who have played for him all enjoy playing with him and say good things about him, obviously enough for him to get the chance to be the manager of this great club.”

Aston Villa manager, Paul Lambert:

“I think if anyone can do it and enjoy it and keep the continuity there I think David Moyes can do it. He’s been sensational at Everton and I think he’ll handle it no problem.”

Former teammate and player for David Moyes, Kevin Kilbane:

“His connection with Sir Alex Ferguson is the key to the appointment. . . . He will fit in to the structure of Manchester United and their long term plan and he will be willing to seek advice and assurances from Sir Alex. . . . He is a wonderful man and a good manager and coach. It’s a worthy appointment.”

Everton chairman, Bill Kenwright:

“We’ve had a really good 11-year adventure with David. It’s my job – and the club’s job – to get a worthy successor. It’s been an extraordinary 24 hours.”

Former Liverpool striker, Robbie Fowler:

“Everton fans: now you know why the contract was run down… Has been a work in progress for a long time.”

Former Manchester United defender, Dennis Irwin:

“I think David Moyes will be very similar to Sir Alex, a tough old Scot from the same mould. . . . Wisely the club have listened to the manager and the heirachy and now we’ve got David Moyes, I’m sure he’ll do a fantastic job.

Everton defender, Phil Jagielka:

“Like the rest of the squad I have nothing but the highest regard for David Moyes. . . . He is a first-class operator on and off the training ground and on behalf of the players I would like to place on record my thanks for the work he has done improving the team.”

With the Manchester United’s confirmation of the hiring, the focus now shifts to Everton where a wide range of candidates are in consideration for the post.

MORE: With David Moyes bound for United, who’s next in line for Everton? 

Dempsey, Sounders steal a point on wild night in Portland

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The game in 100 words (or less): An entire game can change in the blink of an eye. For the Seattle Sounders, that blink came in the 44th minute of Sunday’s 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers. Up 1-0 by way of Joevin Jones’ opener in the 27th minute, the defending MLS Cup champs were poised to head into halftime with a one-goal advantage and every belief imaginable that they’d been the better team for the entire first half. Blink. Brad Evans wrapped his legs around Darlington Nagbe, giving away a penalty and earning himself a red card, just like that, in the blink of an eye. Fanendo Adi stepped up to convert from the spot, but it still was to be a hard-fought 1-1 scoreline from Seattle’s perspective. Then, Dairon Asprilla got loose, completely unmarked atop the six-yard box, on a corner kick, and it was 2-1 after four minutes of first-half stoppage time. 45 more minutes pass, and the Timbers… blink. Clint Dempsey, 34 years old but fresh off the bench 40 minutes earlier, out-leaps everyone in the box and heads past Jake Gleeson to steal a point for Seattle.

[ MORE: San Jose fire Kinnear after 2.5 seasons ]

Three Four moments that mattered

27′ — Jones gets two chances, puts the second away — It’s a classic case of “I dropped my controller” from Alvas Powell, who just stops as Jones cuts across the penalty area. There’s no reason Jones should get a second look on this one.

44′ — Evans brings down Nagbe in the box, sees red — Goodbye, lead. Goodbye 11 versus 11. Things would unravel very quickly for Seattle.

45+4′ — Asprilla rises above to make it 2-1 — Seattle’s marking of Asprilla was nonexistent, and the Colombian showed off some serious hops to get his head to David Guzman’s corner kick.

90+4′ — Dempsey heads home deep in stoppage time — A costly turnover by Asprilla, a hit-it-and-pray cross by Roman Torres, and Dempsey snatches a point at the death.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Cristian Roldan

Goalscorers: Jones (27′), Adi (45′ – PK), Asprilla (45+4′), Dempsey (90+4′)

Russia has reasons for optimism despite Confed Cup exit

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MOSCOW (AP) When the anger subsides after another group stage exit and another goalkeeping blunder, Russian fans might find they can be proud of their team at the Confederations Cup.

Russia failed to reach the knockout rounds of a fourth major tournament in a row, but there’s no shame in losing by one goal to European champion Portugal and North American champion Mexico.

“We will move on,” coach Stanislav Cherchesov said after Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Mexico. “We have won (the fans’) hearts and minds to a certain extent in this month that we have been together … I think that we have given some reasons to feel optimistic about us.”

If Russia’s fans agreed with Cherchesov that Russia had done well to limit Portugal to a single Cristiano Ronaldo goal, there was frustration that Russia hadn’t done better against a poor Mexican side.

Russia wasted chances to exploit Mexico’s ragged defending and add to Alexander Samedov’s opener, while goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev performed an inexplicable lunge which allowed Hirving Lozano to head in the winner. Akinfeev was lucky not to be red-carded, too, after his foot caught Lozano in the chest.

Akinfeev was the immediate scapegoat for Russia’s exit, with fans and newspapers calling for his removal.

The most-capped player in the squad – the Mexico game was his 101st international appearance – Akinfeev’s bulletproof consistency in the Russian Premier League has kept him the undisputed national-team No. 1 for years.

When the world is watching, though, he gets flustered and makes mistakes.

Against South Korea at the 2014 World Cup, an innocuous long shot slipped from his grasp and went in, paving the way for another early Russian exit from the tournament. There have been more than a few blunders in the 43 games since Akinfeev last kept a clean sheet for CSKA in the Champions League, too.

But it’s hard to see who could replace him. The naturalized Brazilian reserve keeper Guilheme is agile but injury prone, while Vladimir Gabulov is a solid but unspectacular veteran. Zenit St. Petersburg’s Yuri Lodygin challenged Akinfeev for a while, but was brought low by his own tendency for embarrassing errors.

On the positive side for Russia, defender Georgy Dzhikiya was solid in all three group games after having only made his debut on June 5, and Cherchesov’s three-man back line was mostly reliable.

Less successful was Cherchesov’s attempt to bolster the midfield by starting Roman Shishkin – usually a defender – in a defensive midfield role against Portugal and Mexico, while 33-year-old ex-Chelsea winger Yuri Zhirkov did his World Cup hopes no favors with a red card Saturday.

Russia’s run of injuries before the tournament weakened the midfield in particular, with Alan Dzagoev and the promising Roman Zobnin both missing out. Forward Artyom Dzyuba’s absence left Cherchesov relying heavily on Fyodor Smolov, who showed touches of class but missed a good chance against Portugal.

Perhaps the biggest damage from Russia’s Confederations Cup exit will be to Russian pride.

Officials have often bragged that the home advantage for next year’s World Cup could drive Russia to new heights, perhaps a repeat of South Korea’s charge to the semifinals in 2002. Those expectations are now being reviewed.

Just one World Cup host in history – South Africa in 2010 – has failed to get out of the group stage. Avoiding a repeat may be the most Russia can hope for.

FOLLOW LIVE: Timbers host Sounders in PNW showdown

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They don’t get much bigger, or more heated, than this one in MLS — it’s Portland versus Seattle, the Timbers versus the Sounders, tonight at Providence Park (10 p.m. ET).

[ FOLLOW LIVE: Timbers vs. Sounders ]

To keep up-to-the-second informed on proceedings in Portland this evening, hit the above link, or click right here.

Seattle won the first meeting between these sides, 1-0 back on May 27, on their home turf at CenturyLink Field. Cristian Roldan, who’ll depart for U.S. national team camp following Sunday’s game, scored the only goal that afternoon in Seattle, a 4th-minute header from three yards out.

Mustafi: Arsenal players powerless, hope “brilliant” Sanchez will stay

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Shkodran Mustafi admits that he, along with his Arsenal teammates, feels helpless with over the ongoing transfer saga of Alexis Sanchez.

[ MORE: Sunday’s transfer rumor roundup | Saturday | Friday ]

The Chilean superstar is linked with a move away from Arsenal this summer, as the Gunners fell out of the Premier League’s top-four and the 28-year-old’s contract is set to expire next summer. Perhaps most importantly, Sanchez hasn’t so much as publicly stated a desire to remain at the club, which, from the outside, appears to have left his future in even greater doubt.

Mustafi admits he hasn’t a clue how things will shake out in the coming weeks, but he’s quick with a pleading sales pitch for Sanchez to stay — quotes from Goal.com:

“I have no idea. Obviously the other players cannot make that decision, he has to make that decision.

“I’m not too much involved. I hope he stays because he is a really brilliant football player but there’s nothing in my hands that I can do.”

[ MORE: De Boer set to be named new Crystal Palace boss ]

Arsenal would likely have to double (if not more) Sanchez’s current $180,000 weekly wages in order to convince him to forego a season in the UEFA Champions League and commit his long-term future to a club presently trending in the wrong direction.