Rare as they are, we’ve seen more than our share of “Olimpico” goals in MLS over the last pair of seasons.
(Why are goals scored directly off corner kicks called “Olimpicos?” Good question. Let’s not bog down here.)
Even more curious, Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning has been involved in two of them over past 13 months. One was highly wind aided … but the one he conceded last night against FC Dallas? Not so much.
Here are the three “Olimpico” goals that have occurred in MLS over the past 13 months … plus a bonus goal of the same kind! No charge!
Things were quite blustery at Toyota Park last April as Gspurning was beaten by the Fire’s Marco Pappa:
That Thierry Henry! He’s a tricky one, isn’t he.
His goal last September against Columbus was of the “icing on the cake” variety, the final strike late in a 3-1 win at Red Bull Arena over the Crew:
And then last night’s goal for FC Dallas, this one from Brazilian midfielder Michel, who another one of these doggone things by Gspurning.
Now, for the bonus “Olimpico:” There may well have been a goal directly of a corner kick over one of Major League’s first two seasons. And if so, there may or may not be video proof. But the first I remember was in 1998, when Dallas Burn Mexican striker Damian (he went by one name) curled one in at Fair Park.
It is No 3 on this video of the Top Ten goals of 1998, as the old Mitre 18-panel balls were flying in.
Manchester City confirm $22.5 million signing of Claudio Bravo
Bravo flew in to Manchester earlier this week and Pep Guardiola finally has the goalkeeper he’s been craving as he revealed the Chilean international is someone “he’s admired for a number of years.”
With Joe Hart given the cold shoulder and veteran Willy Caballero handed the starting spot in goal for City’s first two Premier League games of the season, it always seemed likely that a goalkeeper was lined up.
Speaking to the club website about his move to City after spending the last two seasons at Barcelona, Bravo is looking forward to the challenge ahead.
“I’m very proud to be joining Manchester City. I know the Club is building something very special and I hope I can be part of many successes in the coming years,” Bravo said. “I have followed City’s progress in recent years and obviously know some of my new team-mates from the Copa America.
“It is not easy to leave a club like Barcelona where I had two fantastic years, but the opportunity to work with Pep Guardiola was too good to refuse. Now I will challenge the other great goalkeepers the Club has and together I hope we can win many trophies.”
So, now the picture is even clearer for Hart as despite Bravo claiming he is at the Etihad Stadium to “challenge the other great goalkeepers” they have, we all know he is the new numero uno. Hart will have to find a move elsewhere if he wants to play regularly but his options are running out with Everton’s manager Ronald Koeman saying they are no interested in signing Hart.
Over the last two seasons Bravo has split time with Marc-Andre ter Stegen at Barca but the man who has already made 100 appearances for Chile and has won back-to-back Copa America titles is now ready to be a bonafide star as he enters the prime of his career.
Comfortable with the ball at his feet and a sublime shot-stopper, Bravo’s acquisition is another key moment in Guardiola’s masterplan at City.
Solo, 35, said that Sweden played like “a bunch of cowards” and argued that “the best team did not win.”
Were the comments out of line? Yes. Were they in the heat of the moment? Yes. Were they worthy of a six-month suspension from the USWNT? No.
Then again, this whole episode is about far more than Solo basically lambasting Sweden for being a long-ball team. This storm has been brewing for some time with multiple incidents of indiscretion leading to this inevitable outcome.
Gulati said as much.
“Taking into consideration the past incidents involving Hope, as well as the private conversations we’ve had requiring her to conduct herself in a manner befitting a U.S. National Team member, U.S. Soccer determined this is the appropriate disciplinary action,” Gulati added in the statement.
Solo is currently locked in a legal battle with a half-sister and nephew over alleged domestic violence — Solo continues to claims she is innocent — from 2014, while there was also the incident in 2015 involving Solo and her husband, Jerramy Stevens.
The latter was arrested and charged with a DUI after he and Solo took a team mini-van from the USWNT hotel in California and drove around the streets before being pulled over outside the team hotel by police with Solo reportedly dragged from the scene kicking and screaming. Solo was banned by U.S. Soccer for 30 days on Jan. 31, 2015 for that incident but was recalled by Jill Ellis for the 2015 World Cup and was a star during the USWNT’s World Cup win.
Those two unsavory incidents coupled with the huge wave of negativity from the people of Brazil at Rio 2016 — home fans booed Solo constantly and chanted “Zika” every time she kicked the ball after she posted several pictures on social media showing her preparing for the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil — were enough for U.S. Soccer to act in this manner when Solo gave them yet another reason to investigate her.
USWNT head coach Ellis flew to Seattle with Dan Flynn, U.S. Soccer’s secretary general, to deliver the news of the suspension and although Solo will still be able to play for Seattle Reign FC in the NWSL (U.S. Soccer is reportedly handing her three months severance pay on the contract they terminated which also includes her salary for NWSL play) she will miss two upcoming games for the USWNT in 2016.
Will the USWNT be weaker without Solo? Of course they will. She has been one of the greatest players in women’s soccer history and probably the greatest-ever goalkeeper. Yet, Gulati and U.S. Soccer had to make a firm stance after giving Solo chance after chance to clean up her act.
It doesn’t take a master decoder to work out the subliminal message buried in Gulati’s comments in the statement released by U.S. Soccer.
In a nutshell it says: enough is enough. You were on your last chance and you blew it. It is highly likely than since January 2015 Solo has been repeatedly warned that if she steps out of line again there would be severe consequences.
Right now Solo will not be available to play for the U.S. until Feb. 2017 and even then it seems highly unlikely she will return. After a distinguished career on the pitch, Solo’s erratic behavior off it has finally caught up with her.
The lengthy ban for her outspoken rant against Sweden was undoubtedly excessive and there is a big question mark about the notion of free speech here. She spoke her mind vehemently about her distaste towards Sweden’s tactics but it wasn’t like Solo swore or used discriminatory language when speaking about Sweden. She just didn’t agree with their tactics.
Yet, that “coward” rant was likely the final straw in a long line of indiscretions which even Solo, perhaps one day, must admit have painted both herself and U.S. Soccer in a poor light over the past few years.
Enough is enough. The punishment for this specific outburst may seem harsh to many but it likely marks the end of Solo’s glittering, controversy filled, USWNT career.
Southampton look set to smash their transfer record as Moroccan international Sofiane Boufal is close to sealing a move to St Mary’s.
ProSoccerTalk understands that Saints have agreed a club-record fee of $28 million with Ligue 1 club Lille for Boufal and the attacker is now discussing personal terms with the side who finished sixth in the Premier League last season.
It is believed there is still some way to go in the deal before Boufal, 22, is unveiled at Saints — it could be early next week ahead of the summer transfer window slamming shut at 7 p.m. ET on Aug. 31. — with the player currently in the latter stages of recovering from a knee injury he suffered at the end of last season.
With Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool all linked with Boufal in the past, this signing would represent a major coup for manager Claude Puel (former manager of Lille from 2002-08) and also boost Southampton’s attacking options following the loss of Sadio Mane and Graziano Pelle over the summer.
Boufal could be the latest in a long line of shrewd European pickups from Saints who have benefited greatly over the past three seasons from giving stars of other European leagues a chance in the PL (see: Mane, Sadio.) then selling them on to the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United for huge profits.
The Paris-born attacker shone for Lille in France’s top-flight last season, scoring 11 goals and adding four assists following his move from second-tier Angers where he came through the youth system. Born and raised in France, Boufal chose to represent Morocco at international level and he has already placed twice for the Atlas Lions after making his debut in 2016.
If the deal does get over the line, as expected, then what type of player may Southampton be getting?
Boufal has skill and trickery similar to Riyad Mahrez and the directness of a Yannick Bolasie. He can play out wide or centrally and his creativity is his main trait. That is something Saints need as they’ve scored just once in their opening two games of the season and they look to be lacking a cutting edge in the final third heading into their first-ever appearance in the group stages of the UEFA Europa League.
This could well be another masterful signing from Saints’ now famed analysts in the “black box” room at their Staplewood training ground.