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? 

Sky Blue’s Sam Kerr named NWSL league MVP for 2017

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CHICAGO (AP) Sky Blue FC forward Sam Kerr has been named the National Women’s Soccer League’s Most Valuable Player for this season.

Kerr, a standout on the Australian national team, had a league-record 17 goals and became the league’s fifth Golden Boot winner to also be named MVP.

[ MORE: MLS Decision Day preview ]

She became the first NWSL player to score four goals in a game on Aug. 19 against the Seattle Reign. Kerr rallied Sky Blue from a 3-goal deficit to beat the Reign 5-4.

Kerr’s award was announced Friday. The league had earlier announced the season’s other award winners: North Carolina’s Abby Dahlkemper was named Defender of the Year, teammate Ashley Hatch was named Rookie of the Year, Portland’s Adrianna Franch was named Goalkeeper of the Year and the Thorns’ Mark Parsons was named Coach of the Year.

The Mendy Effect: Pep praises injured back

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Full back Benjamin Mendy cost Pep Guardiola and Manchester City $68 million, but perhaps he’ll be just as valuable as a very expensive sports psychologist.

The “Shark Team” member was amusing on social media even before his ACL injury sent him to the sidelines until at least April, but he’s become a must-follow Twitter fixture with his in-game messages (See some of his work below).

[ MORE: MLS Decision Day preview ]

City faces Burnley at 10 a.m. ET Saturday (Watch live on CNBC and online via NBCSports.com).

It’s fairly clear his act has translated in private, too, as apparently Mendy is just as good in group messages (Let us in, Pep. We won’t tell anyone). From ManCity.com:

“Usually, players who are out for a long time with injury are sad. They sometimes train apart and feel isolated.

“Mendy decided to be present. He is communicating on social media, WhatsApp and he calls his teammates and messages me. He is going to be so important outside the pitch because people like him make the atmosphere much better.”

It’s not surprising for anyone who’s been following the former Le Havre, Marseille and Monaco man.

Keep in mind, these Tweets below are from the last few days alone!

Ozil to Manchester United?!? Wenger reacts to gossip

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Sometimes, even the biggest Arsene Wenger detractors have to feel for the guy.

Coming off a thrilling late win in Serbia, one that saw Olivier Giroud cap off a team goal straight out of the creative Wenger playbook, the manager should’ve been discussing how to stretch those good vibes into this weekend’s visit to Goodison Park.

[ MORE: MLS Decision Day preview ]

Yet no. Instead of talking about how the Gunners would respect the struggling Toffees, Wenger had to address speculation from several outlets claiming Mesut Ozil would move to Manchester United, perhaps as soon as January.

Feeling it? No, no Wenger was not feeling it. From Arsenal.com:

“We have to deal with all kinds of speculation when the players are at the end of their contracts. On the other hand, to be professional is to give 100 per cent as long as you are somewhere. For the rest, we came out many times and said that’s the situation. It [the media] can come out tomorrow and say that he extends his contract here. It will be exactly the same, it will not change anything. When you play the next game, commit 100 per cent. … When a player plays for Arsenal Football Club, his commitment cannot be linked with the length of his contract, it has just to be linked with the responsibility and the ambition he has to win the football game.”
Of course most big clubs have to deal with such drama on a year-to-year basis and, yes, having Ozil and Alexis Sanchez still in town was completely avoidable. But the idea that Ozil could leave, for free, to Manchester United? We’re sure Gooners the world over will be thrilled with the gossip.

MLS Decision Day preview: Much at stake

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Four teams can claim a Western Conference second round berth, while four more can earn a valuable first-round bye in the East.

Yep, there’s plenty to play for beyond the West’s final playoff spot Sunday during Major League Soccer’s Decision Day, when every team will take the pitch for 4 p.m. ET kickoffs.

[ MORE: Conte feels pressure ]

Here’s what we do know regarding the playoffs:

  1. Supporters’ Shield winning Toronto FC gets a first round bye, while No. 6 seed New York Red Bulls are headed to the road for a first round playoff
  2. New England, Montreal, Philadelphia, Orlando, DC, Minnesota, Colorado, and LA will not make the playoffs
  3. Full stop.

So, yes, this will be fun.

First, let’s look at the Eastern Conference Standings ahead of Sunday’s extravaganza:

Eastern Conference
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Toronto FC 33 20 8 5 72 35 37 13-3-1 7-5-4 68
x – New York City FC 33 16 8 9 54 41 13 10-4-2 6-4-7 56
x – Chicago 33 16 7 10 61 44 17 12-3-2 4-4-8 55
x – Atlanta 33 15 9 9 68 38 30 11-2-3 4-7-6 54
x – Columbus 33 16 5 12 51 47 4 12-2-3 4-3-9 53
x – New York 33 13 8 12 51 46 5 9-6-2 4-2-10 47

— New York City FC controls its bye destiny, though Columbus could join them on 56 points and would pass them on tiebreakers (wins).

— If that happens, Chicago could claim the second bye with a win or draw in Houston (The Fire owns the goal differential tiebreaker).

— If New York City and Chicago lose or draw, Atlanta could finish second with a home win over TFC.

— Columbus can finish second with a win and non-wins for Chicago and Atlanta.

Western Conference
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
x – Vancouver 33 15 7 11 49 47 2 9-5-3 6-2-8 52
x – Portland 33 14 8 11 58 49 9 10-4-2 4-4-9 50
x – Seattle 33 13 11 9 49 39 10 10-5-1 3-6-8 50
x – Sporting KC 33 12 13 8 39 27 12 10-6-1 2-7-7 49
x – Houston 33 12 11 10 54 45 9 11-4-1 1-7-9 47
San Jose 33 12 7 14 36 58 -22 9-5-2 3-2-12 43
FC Dallas 33 10 13 10 43 47 -4 7-7-2 3-6-8 43
Real Salt Lake 33 12 6 15 47 54 -7 8-4-4 4-2-11 42

Byes

— Vancouver finishes first with a win or draw at Portland. The ‘Caps could finish as low as third with a loss to Portland and a Seattle win versus Colorado.

— Portland finishes first — and wins the Cascadia Cup — with a win over visiting Vancouver.

— Seattle can claim a first round bye with a win over visiting Colorado and a Vancouver win over Portland.

— Sporting KC can finish second with a win at Real Salt Lake and non-wins for Portland and Seattle.

Final playoff spot

— San Jose claims the sixth seed with a home win over Minnesota. They can also finish sixth with a draw joined by non-wins for FC Dallas at home to LA and Real Salt Lake at home versus SKC.

— FC Dallas claims the sixth seed with a win over LA and a San Jose draw or loss versus Minnesota. FCD gets sixth with a draw, and a San Jose loss coupled with a RSL loss or draw versus SKC.

—  Real Salt Lake gets sixth with a win over SKC, and non-wins from San Jose and Dallas. RSL could also get sixth with a draw and losses for San Jose and Dallas.

(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

Schedule
FC Dallas vs. LA Galaxy
DC United vs. New York Red Bulls
San Jose vs. Minnesota United
Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting KC
Houston vs. Chicago
Seattle vs. Colorado
Philadelphia vs. Orlando City
Portland vs. Vancouver
Montreal vs. New England
New York City vs. Columbus
Atlanta vs. Toronto

Predictions

— NYCFC hangs on for a draw against Columbus, earning a bye, leaving Chicago to host New York Red Bulls and Atlanta off to Columbus for the first round of the playoffs (We have Toronto beating Atlanta on Sunday).

— Vancouver and Portland draw, while Seattle beats Colorado. The ‘Caps and Sounders get byes, while Seattle takes back the Cascadia Cup.

— San Jose beats Minnesota, gaining the West’s sixth seed. The Quakes head to Portland for the first round, while SKC hosts Houston.