Toronto FC fell Saturday, again, but a sunny afternoon around BMO Field was hardly a total loss.
High-scoring Dutch striker Danny Koevermans made his first start since last July. Koevermans went down on July 14 last year against New England.
He made two appearances for TFC off the bench in June but got back into Ryan Nelsen’s starting 11 for Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake.
He nearly sprang Bobby Convey early in the match and generally didn’t look out of place against the hottest team in Major League Soccer, working hard on both sides of the ball. He was hardly at his best over 55 minutes (giving way to Luis Silva), but the knowledge and movement was evident, and that will count for a lot as this reconfigured team continues to look for its identity under Nelsen.
Koevermans’ return also represents great timing for the Reds, who are about to lose four important players – Doneil Henry, Jonathan Osorio, Ashtone Morgan and Kyle Bekker – for Canadian national team duty.
Robert Earnshaw was out with a calf injury. If TFC’s Welsh striker can get healthy, and if Nelsen can get just a little more from Convey, a few more goals could help mitigate some of the defensive gaps left from those Gold Cup departures.
Jurgen Klopp is on his way to Liverpool to sign a contract naming him the next coach of the Reds.
The celebrated manager, 48, has been on “hiatus” from football since leaving Borussia Dortmund last season.
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Reports starting emerging earlier today that an agreement was imminent, and now the BBC is among those reporting that Klopp will be rolled out Friday morning.
From the BBC:
No contract has yet been signed but that is viewed as a formality when Klopp arrives in Liverpool later on Thursday. He will be officially unveiled by Liverpool on Friday morning at 10:00 BST.
There’s not much to say besides this: Klopp’s addition to the Premier League will give more color and brilliance to the country’s footballing scene. Only a certain class of manager can be instantly expected to find a better system for an inherited group of players.
This could and should be a game changer on Merseyside.
It was a mere 48 hours ago that Lionel Messi looked close to in the clear when it came to tax evasion charges.
Now the question is whether a Spanish court will lock away the greatest active footballer, as a judge rejected the prosecutors’ (!!!) request to drop the charges.
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Messi and his father have already made a $5.5 million corrective payment, but there’s principle in play here. And the judge wants to know how Messi can claim he had no idea what was being done with his money.
From the BBC:
Lawyers acting on behalf of the tax authorities demanded 22-month jail sentences for both defendants.
“There are rational signs that the criminality was committed by both accused parties,” wrote the judge in a court filing, according to the AFP news agency.
Can you imagine one of the world’s richer men ending up in a Spanish prison? It’s very difficult to consider. In some ways it’s more plausible that he would buy his own island and start the “Messi Isle Premiership”.
Still, we won’t laugh off the idea, especially with FIFA apparently going down. Messi in prison. That’s something. Sepp in Switzerland. Lionel in Spain.