Want Rodolfo Zelaya for your MLS team? Anyone … Anyone?

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I’ll play a dangerous game here and make a couple of assumptions:

If you saw El Salvador livewire striker Rodolfo Zelaya against the United States on Sunday, and if you have a dog in the MLS fight, you want that guy for your team.

That’s the first assumption. The second one: You want him, like, yesterday.

It’s always dangerous to get too excited about a small scouting sample; I’m the first to say so.  Then again, he’s not exactly new, now with 17 goals for his country.

Besides, it certainly is tempting to crave the dogged 25-year-old’s services after watching his one-man-army act Sunday against the U.S. back line, isn’t it?

Zelaya helped made Nick Rimando work in Sunday’s first half  and made the U.S. rear guard look a bit silly as he blew by one defender after another, ultimately felled by DaMarcus Beasley (in a moment that should remind everyone, Beasley is not a natural defender.) Zelaya then coolly finished his penalty kick against goalkeeper with a good history of stopping them.

He sometimes made U.S. center backs Clarence Goodson and Matt Besler look too stationary with his speedy movement.

(MORE: United States cruises past El Salvador in Gold Cup quarterfinal)

Oh, and this: consider that Zelaya scored all four of El Salvador’s goals in the tournament, and you can see why his time appears to have arrived. Skillful, tenacious and with a nose for goal, he looks a little like Carlos Ruiz from back in the day – although presumably without all the baggage.

After two years at Mexico’s Leon and an injury-interrupted loan spell in with Russia’s Alania Vladikavkaz, the Salvadoran is back in his home country with Alianza. Translation, it probably wouldn’t take a king’s ransom to buy the guy, especially since he has just six months left on his contract. If the Salvadoran Primera Division club wants to cash in, it has to be now. Otherwise Zelaya can move without compensation in January.

Men in Blazers: Jurgen Klopp talks loss of Coutinho and more

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Roger Bennett talks with manager Jurgen Klopp about revolutionizing Liverpool, his Greatest Show on Turf-esque offense, the loss of Philippe Coutinho and how he keeps football in perspective.

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MLS: Higuain extends with Crew, Royer gets new deal with Red Bulls

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Two key midfielders earned new deals on Thursday, as two of the Eastern Conference’s recent successes helped solidify for their attacks for the next few years.

The Columbus Crew extended Designated Player attacker Federico Higuain through the 2019 MLS season.

Higuain has been with the Crew since 2012, when the Argentine joined the club from Colon de Santa Fe in his native country.

Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls extended Daniel Royer’s contract, as the Austrian winger in the midst of his third season with Jesse Marsch’s group.

Thus far, Royer has tallied 17 goals in all competitions for the Red Bulls, including 15 during the 2017 campaign, where the former Midtjylland player finished second on the team in goals behind Bradley Wright-Phillips.

UEL: Griezmann nabs crucial away goal vs. Arsenal, Marseille cruises

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A game of back-and-forth at the Emirates Stadium set up an enticing second leg in the UEFA Europa League semifinals, while a Ligue 1 side positioned itself well to move into the final.

[ MORE: Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks ]

Arsenal and Atletico Madrid settled for a 1-1 draw in London, as Antoine Griezmann’s late strike leveled the match for the Spanish side.

The Gunners looked on their way to a victory when Alexandre Lacazette‘s goal just beyond the hour mark put Arsene Wenger‘s men in front.

The result sets up a strong showdown for the two giants in a week’s time, although Arsenal will feel it left something on the table after racking up 26 shots (seven on target) on the day, particularly after Sime Vrsaljko was sent off after 10 minutes for the visitors when he picked up a second yellow card.

Meanwhile, Florian Thauvin and Clinton Njie gave Marseille a 2-0 win over Red Bull Leipzig, giving the French side the edge it sought out ahead of the competition finale.

The two clubs will meet again at Red Bull Arena Salzburg for the second leg.


Arsenal 1-1 Atletico Madrid
Marseille 2-0 Red Bull Salzburg

Europa League, LIVE: Arsenal, Marseille host first legs

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Diego Costa brings a solid career record against Arsenal back to London in a bid to ruin Arsene Wenger‘s farewell season at the Emirates Stadium.

[ FOLLOW: Arsenal vs. Atleti ]

The now-Atletico Madrid forward returns to England on Thursday as his La Liga outfit aims to stop Arsenal from reaching next month’s Europa League Final in Lyon.

[ FOLLOW: Marseille vs. Red Bull Salzburg ]

That’s a 3:05 p.m. ET kickoff, the same as Marseille’s date with Red Bull Salzburg in France.

ARSENAL-ATLETICO MADRID LINEUPS

Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Xhaka, Wilshere, Ramsey, Welbeck, Ozil, Lacazette. Subs: Cech, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Chambers, Kolasinac, Iwobi, Nketiah.

Atleti: Oblak, Lucas, Godin, Gimenez, Vrsaljko, Saul, Thomas, Koke, Correa, Griezmann, Gameiro. Subs: Werner, Savic, Gabi, Vitolo, Olabe, Torres, Costa.