Montréal switches back to their spring set-up, stops the flood of goals

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With Marco Di Vaio back in Italy, something was bound to change for the Impact, but even if the Montréal’s leading goal scorer wasn’t back home dealing with a family issue, Marco Schällibaum’s team needed to be tweaked. They’d allowed 12 goals in their last four games, dropped points to the likes of Toronto FC and Chivas USA, and lost their hold on first in the East. Montréal had let the pack come back to them. For Saturday’s visit from FC Dallas, the Impact needed to try something different.

That something different was the re-introduction of the one-front. For most of their swoon, Montréal’s played a 4-4-2 – Schällibaum’s attempt to get Bologna loanee Daniel Paponi into the team, changing their set-up from the 4-5-1 (4-1-4-1) formation the Impact rode to the top of the conference. Davy Arnaud’s fitness was also a factor in the switch, but even after the captain’s return, Montréal has persisted with two up top, leaving them one lighter in the middle. On Saturday, however, Montréal was back to their five-midfield ways.

The result, as you’d expect from only 90 minutes of play, was somewhat inconclusive. The Impact kept a rare clean sheet in their 0-0 draw. On the balance of play, Montréal were probably the better side, though not so much better that Dallas deserved to go home empty handed. Ultimately, without Di Vaio in the team, the hosts were unable to produce a goal, dropping points at home.

There were reasons to think things could be better going forward. The increased influence Montréal had on the match was obvious, though that may have been a function of Dallas’s style, as well. The game’s slow tempo in tandem with the 4-1-4-1 versus 4-2-3-1 matchup meant the game would likely stay low scoring. But if Di Vaio was in the team and crafting the type of isolated openings he did during Montréal’s hot start, Saturday’s game could have looked a lot like those the Impact rode to the top of the Eastern Conference.

For a team with a particular need to protect a solid but slow central defense, dropping a man in the middle was always worth watching, but curbing a run that saw them leaking goals, a five-midfielder Montréal provided a little more evidence to suggest they need to revert to their spring formula. Perhaps Schällibaum sees a need to get an extra forward into the XI, but right now, he’s shunning something that works.

Football leaks: French police raid PSG HQ, 3 players’ homes

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PARIS (AP) A French official says police investigating suspected tax fraud linked to the soccer industry have raided the headquarters of Paris Saint-Germain and the homes of three Argentine players in France.

The official said anti-corruption police units searched the homes of PSG players Angel Di Maria and Javier Pastore, and that of Nantes forward Emiliano Sala on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Real Madrid signs $50m teen ]

Police also raided the head offices of PSG at Parc des Princes and other offices in Boulogne-Billancourt, outside the French capital, the official said.

The official, familiar with the case, declined to be identified because the investigation is ongoing.

The national financial prosecutor’s office opened an investigation in December after so-called “football leaks” reports allegedly detailed tax arrangements by top players, coaches and clubs.

Real Madrid signs most expensive Brazilian since Neymar

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Real Madrid didn’t wait long after learning Vinicius Junior was healthy.

The 16-year-old Flamengo star is committed to the Bernabeu after passing a physical, and Real Madrid announced Tuesday that they’ll have their new player no later than July 2019.

The reported fee is $50 million, which would be the most money spent on a Brazilian player since Barcelona landed Neymar for about $64 million in 2013.

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The forward has made two appearances for Flamengo, and turns 17 on July 12. He has 19 goals in 22 appearances for Brazil’s U-17 side.

Here’s Real’s announcement:

Real Madrid C. F. and Clube de Regatas do Flamengo have reached an agreement regarding the transfer of the federative rights of the player Vinicius Junior from July 2018. The player will remain at his current club until July 2019, although he will be able to play for Real Madrid before then if both clubs agree to it.

VOTE: 2016-17 Premier League Goal of the Season

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Okay, so you have 1064 to choose from, so choose wisely…

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 PL season reviews

The 2016-17 Premier League season is over but you can vote for your favorite goal of the campaign up until June 1.

Simply click on the video above to watch the contenders compiled by Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, and then you can vote by clicking here.

Enjoy!

Ex-Barcelona president Rosell held in money laundering probe

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MADRID (AP) Spanish authorities say former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell and his wife have been detained in a probe over his businesses in Brazil.

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 season reviews

The detentions early Tuesday are part of a money laundering investigation related to buying television rights for past matches of Brazil’s national team.

Three other people have been detained, but their identities were not immediately released by authorities.

Police raided offices, homes, and businesses in Barcelona and other locations in Spain as part of “Operation Rimet,” in reference to former FIFA President Jules Rimet.

Authorities said the operation used information from the FBI following the U.S. case against high-level FIFA officials in 2015.

Rosell is already standing trial for fraud and corruption charges involving the 2013 transfer of Brazilian striker Neymar.