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How do we feel about Dom Dwyer’s one-game loan to Orlando City? Sporting attacker will play in USL PRO title game.

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Dom Dwyer has nothing to prove in the third division, especially after scoring 15 times in 13 games with Orlando City SC earlier this year. He hasn’t been able to replicate the proficiency with Sporting KC, but the 23-year-old attacker does have a goal in 206 minutes of action. With Kei Kamara gone to Middlesbrough, the former South Florida Bull is in line for more time with his Major League Soccer team.

Regardless, Dwyer has been loaned back to Orlando City, albeit under very unique circumstances – a situation that might disappoint the Charlotte Eagles. They’re Orlando’s competition in Saturday’s USL PRO title game, and thanks to today’s agreement between Sporting and Orlando, they’ll also be the opponents for Dwyer’s curious one-game loan.

Here’s the player, from Major League Soccer’s website:

“It’s going to be fun,” Dwyer said on Wednesday, shortly after learning that he would be loaned back to Sporting’s affiliate for Saturday’s USL PRO title game against the Charlotte Eagles. “Obviously, they’ve done really well to get the game at home, and I’m excited about it, I didn’t think I was going to get to go. I thought I’d just be wishing them luck.”

Why would he think he was going to go? There was no reason to think this would happen. After all, since when to players go on one-game loans to bolster squads for a title game? Is this something we’re doing now? Because if so, it sure seems like the Eagles get screwed by the new practice.

Dwyer was with Orlando earlier this year, so from a certain point of view, you could argue he was a part of their success and deserves to further contribute to their possible title. But it’s still incredibly perverse, akin to trading away a player mid-season only to see him make a cameo in the most important game of the season. Things similar to this can happen in minor league baseball, but not quite so abruptly. Particularly given Orlando is not a Sporting KC farm team, this is weird to the point of being wrong.

Here’s Sporting’s Peter Vermes with some background:

“They called me last week after they won [in the semifinals] and said, ‘Look, we’re decimated in the forward position with injuries, and a red card on one of the players, and then one player on international duty,'” Vermes said on Wednesday. “So they’ve got one guy. They asked if there was a chance that either Dom or C.J. [Sapong] could go, and they particularly wanted Dom because he’d been there as long as he had.

“I said it probably wasn’t the greatest time for us, either, but we have options, so I just feel obligated based on our partnership and how well we’ve worked with each other.”

This just makes it even more perverse. Somehow, Orlando has been able to turn their lack of depth and the team’s misfortune into an opportunity to upgrade. Averaging over a goal a game, Dwyer is clearly beyond third-tier quality, yet thanks to players being injured, suspended, and recalled, Orlando have actually improved. They wouldn’t have called and asked about Dwyer’s availability otherwise, but thanks to those circumstances, Dwyer becomes Orlando City’s ringer for Saturday’s title game.

I’m not going to go as far as to say this will taint an Orlando title — I don’t follow USL PRO much, so I shouldn’t judge — but conceptually, this seems all wrong. Allowing teams to reload from outside their organization three days before the title game? When did this become acceptable?

Perhaps for Charlotte, it’s not.

 

Transfer rumor roundup: Icardi’s Italian stay, Atleti still seek Costa

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 07:  Mauro Icardi (L) of FC Internazionale Milano celebrates after scoring the opening goal with team mate Stevan Jovetic during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale Milano and Empoli FC  at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 7, 2016 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
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Gonzalo Higuain and Mauro Icardi both spent some time as potential Arsenal players in the summer rumor mills, but will the former’s move to Juventus keep the latter from the Emirates Stadium?

As we wait for official confirmation that Juventus has purchased Higuain from Napoli for $103 million, it seems Napoli is aiming to replace him with Icardi. Football Italia says Inter has rejected an offer of $22 million plus Manolo Gabbiadini that would send Icardi to Naples.

[ MORE: Messi back, blonde at Barca ]

Gabbiadini has 20 goals in 60 matches for Napoli, but Icardi is among the hottest properties in the world. The 23-year-old Argentine is signed through 2019, and the fee is obviously going to be quite high, but Napoli is ready to spend money that others may not.


Many players have been rumored for the “fourth chair” behind Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Luis Suarez in the Barcelona attack orchestra, but could the issue be settled with a reserve from Atletico Madrid?

Luciano Vietto, 22, is being linked with a $24 million move from the Vicente Calderon to the Camp Nou. AS says personal terms are the only obstacle remaining, and Vietto would have a lot to prove in Barcelona. After belting 20 goals for Valencia in 2014-15, Vietto found the net just thrice in 28 matches last season.


Atleti could use that money, according to Marca, as Diego Simeone’s bunch reportedly believes it can pry Diego Costa from Chelsea. The Brazilian-born Spanish international has massive success at Atleti before moving to North London, and Simeone has not quit on the idea of bringing him back “home”.


Also, we’re just going to leave this right here, with the lone add-on that Aaron Schoenfeld is tearing it up for Maccabi’s rival.

Messi returns ahead of schedule, sporting golden hair (photo)

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JUNE 26: Lionel Messi #10 of Argentina looks on against Chile during the Copa America Centenario Championship match at MetLife Stadium on June 26, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Chile defeated Argentina 4-2 in penalty kicks. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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Lionel Messi is back with Barcelona a week earlier than expected, as the Camp Nou set prepares to defend another La Liga title.

That means Messi will be on the roster for the International Champions Cup, as Barcelona is slated to play Celtic, Leicester City, and Liverpool.

[ MORE: Manchester Derby in China on Monday ]

That’s not the only surprise from the 29-year-old, who has pulled an Aaron Ramsey and dramatically altered his ‘do.

Glad to have him back on our screens a bit earlier than planned, and — although I’m far from a style icon — I’ll be just as glad when the blonde grows/washes out of his head.

Ronaldo seeking new contract, says he’ll miss UEFA Super Cup

FUNCHAL, MADEIRA, PORTUGAL - JULY 22: Dionisio Pestana, Cristiano Ronaldo and Miguel Albuquerque (President of the Regional Government of Madeira) during the opening of the new 'Pestana CR7 Funchal' Hotel owned by Cristiano Ronaldo on July 22, 2016 in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal. (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)
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Cristiano Ronaldo’s long summer has earned him an extended vacation, but the knee injury he suffered in the EURO 2016 Final would’ve kept him from this season’s first big club match anyway.

The 31-year-old star will not be available for the Aug. 9 UEFA Super Cup match between Real Madrid and Sevilla, saying he’ll be back in the mix just one day later.

[ MORE: Discussing Yedlin’s future ]

Ronaldo also said he’s going to speak with the club about extending his contract, which runs through the 2017-18 season. He’s very been vocal about his desire to finish his career at the Bernabeu, and will put pen to paper in order to prove it.

From Sky Sports:

“I spoke to the president on the phone and when I get to Madrid, we will talk about it.

“Obviously it’s something I want, I have mentioned it many times, and the club also wants it. But we only spoke briefly, and there will be more concrete things to come.”

No surprises here, though it would’ve been nice to have Ronaldo on our screens for the match-up between his Champions League winners and the Europa League champions.

Guardiola, Mourinho prepare for derby in China, shake off personal rivalry

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 16: Barcelona manager (L) Josep Guardiola shakes hands with head coach Jose Mourinho of Real Madrid before the start of the La Liga match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 16, 2011 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
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Preseason matches rarely have legitimate hype, let alone live up to it.

Yet Monday will see Manchester United and Manchester City tangle outside of England for the first time in history, and there are a lot of fans looking forward to the early morning match in China.

[ MORE: Discussing Yedlin’s future ]

A lot of that has to do with it being the first match-up between Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho as bosses of City and United, to the extent where journalists asked whether the longtime rivals would shake hands (admittedly a weird question, as if to say, “Are you a grown-up?”).

They essentially issued the same answer, and here are Mourinho’s comments, from ManUtd.com:

“Of course I will shake his hand – why wouldn’t I? I don’t understand the question to him or to me. We were opponents for three years [in Spain] but we are professionals. I don’t see why I wouldn’t shake his hand.”

Both managers also talked, understandably, about fitness and health being their No. 1 goal of the match, and there are concerns about the pitch in China due to heavy rains.

Guardiola also gave insight into Vincent Kompany‘s continued struggles with recovery from the injury that hampered him for much of last season, refusing to give a timetable for the captain’s return.