Raheem Sterling, Nani

Nani signs a new 5 year deal with Manchester United

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Portuguese international Nani has committed his future to Manchester United signing a five year deal to remain at Old Trafford through June 2018.

The deal was made after Nani came off the bench and put in an impressive performance in last weekend’s 1-0 loss at Liverpool.

Following Thursday’s signing, United manager David Moyes spoke highly of the winger.

“I’m really pleased Nani has re-signed for the next five years,” Moyes said. “He has great ability and experience beyond his 26 years. I’ve been impressed with his approach to training and look forward to working with him in the coming seasons.”

Nani, who arrived at Old Trafford in 2007 following a $26.5 million (£17m) move from Sporting Lisbon, seemed equally delighted that the deal was finalized.

“Playing at United has been a fantastic experience for me,” Nani said. “When I came to the club, I never imagined the success we have enjoyed. I’m very happy that the new manager has shown this faith in me and I’m looking forward to helping the team compete for more honors this season.”

Nani’s impact in helping the team compete is a topic of debate.

There is little doubt that he is one of the most electric winger’s in the game. With bags of pace, skill and a thunderbolt of a shot when Nani is “on,” he is virtually unplayable.

Consistency, however, has been a blemish on his career. Long touted as United’s replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani has to come close to justifying the comparisons to his fellow countryman.

source: Reuters
Despite a down year in 2012-13, Nani was awarded a new 5 year contract keeping him at Old Trafford through June 2018.

After a four year warm-up period that saw him record a mere 8 goals in 62 league appearances, Nani exploded in 2009-10 for 9 goals and 14 assists in 33 league appearances. He followed up on that breakout the next year by recording 8 goals and 10 assists in 29 appearances.

Last season, however, Nani’s form slumped and Sir Alex Ferguson took note, handing the Portuguese international 11 league matches which saw a return of one goal and two assists.While sections of Red Devils supporters felt it was time to rid themselves of Nani, Ferguson and the United higher-ups maintained their belief in the player. Wages, however, were an issue in re-signing.

With Nani’s contract set to expire at the end of 2014, negotiations to re-sign the winger began last March with Nani’s advisers wanting $200,000 (£130k) per week and United unwilling to budge from the $140,000 (£90k) per week salary already in place.

With today’s deal secured there is no word on which side bent on the wage issue but one thing’s for sure, Nani will remain a Red Devil for the foreseeable future.

LIVE – EFL Cup: Manchester Derby, West Ham-Chelsea, Saints-Sunderland

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 12:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United evades Fernandinho of Manchester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on April 12, 2015 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images
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There are still three more teams yet to join the quintet who clinched quarterfinal berths in the EFL Cup on Tuesday.

We’ve got three all-PL ties to decide their fates.

[ LIVE: Follow EFL Cup scores ]

Follow the action above, as we learn who takes the remaining spots alongside Newcastle United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Leeds United, and Hull City.

Holders Man City are off to Old Trafford for a derby match-up in the Round of 16, while it’s an all-London match at the Olympic Stadium between West Ham and Chelsea.

Finally, Sunderland hopes to break out of its season-long slump to join Northeast rivals Newcastle in the quarters. The Black Cats will need to win at Southampton to move on.

EFL Cup fourth round, Wednesday games

West Ham United vs. Chelsea — 2:45 p.m. ET
Southampton vs. Sunderland — 2:45 p.m. ET
Manchester United vs. Manchester City — 3 p.m. ET

MLS Cup Playoffs Thurs. preview: Seattle, DC riding hot streaks

SEATTLE, WA - MARCH 06:  Osvaldo Alonso #6 of the Seattle Sounders FC dribbles against Roger Espinoza #27 of Sporting Kansas City at CenturyLink Field on March 6, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
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The 4-5 match-ups in each conference are set for Thursday’s MLS Cup Playoffs, with two of the league’s hottest teams set to hit the pitch.

[ MORE: MLS Cup predictions ]

Both Seattle and DC are at home for their “play-in” matches, and face road teams with plenty of veteran experience and firepower in what should be a pair of beauts on each side of our country.

DC United vs. Montreal Impact — 7:30 p.m. ET

The Black-and-Red have hit their stride under coach Ben Olsen, and seem on board the plan.

Montreal, however, has not seen tranquility in Quebec. Ignacio Piatti has been fantastic, but the headlines have revolved around Didier Drogba‘s unhappiness at not starting under Mauro Biello.

It’s difficult to think Biello won’t start the Ivorian in a must-win match on the road, given Drogba’s experience and ability to dominate a game.

[ MORE: Nyarko says DC can aim high in MLS Playoffs ]

Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting KC — 10:30 p.m. ET

Nicolas Lodeiro and Jordan Morris have helped Seattle make up for the absence of transferred Obafemi Martins and injured Clint Dempsey.

The duo has been simply fantastic in “rave green”, and Sporting KC is going to have a whale of a time slowing Seattle. Consider the ability and season of under-the-radar MVP candidate Osvaldo Alonso in the center of the park, and all bets are off.

Of course, the thing about KC is there’s little question it has the mettle to not just win on the road, but win a tournament. Graham Zusi, Matt Besler, Dom Dwyer, Brad Davis, Benny Feilhaber… who in that locker room is going to shrink under the bright lights of the playoffs?

TFC’s Bradley: “Responsibility, privilege and passion” on line in playoffs

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 11: Michael Bradley #4 of United States looks on against New Zealand in the second half during an International Friendly at RFK Stadium on October 11, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images
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Toronto FC’s supporters fell in love with the club almost immediately, but it’s taken to Year 10 for the Reds to get a home playoff match.

The latest batch of TFC stars have embraced the battle for relevance, at times even surpassing expectations the lofty expectations of championship-starved Toronto.

[ MORE: Bradley talks TFC renaissance

This is a city which has seen the Blue Jays and Raptors find the precipice of glory in recent seasons, but not reach the apex. The Leafs haven’t been to a Stanley Cup final since the NHL had a whopping six teams.

So winning would be a mighty big accomplishment, right Michael Bradley?

From MLSSoccer.com:

“Being captain or a big player on a team in this city carries an extra weight,” said captain Michael Bradley. “I’ve loved every second of that; playing in this city, for this city, and being captain. It’ll be nights like Wednesday night where the responsibility, privilege and passion that I have for this role will get magnified that much more.”

He has a way with words, doesn’t he? The USMNT captain begins Canada’s quest for a title at 7:30 p.m. ET against visiting Philadelphia.

Whitecaps lock up Welsh coach Robinson through 2020

VANCOUVER, BC - APRIL 5:  Head coach Carl Robinson (right) of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC during their MLS game against the Colorado Rapids April 5, 2014 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Colorado won 2-1. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images
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Vancouver is hanging onto stalwart coach Carl Robinson despite a massively disappointing season.

The Whitecaps were tipped to compete for the Supporters’ Shield, only to miss the playoffs. There were plenty of excuses for the ‘Caps, including an injury to Kekuta Manneh and the transfer of Octavio Rivero.

And Vancouver is alive as the No. 1 seed in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, also claiming the Cascadia Cup.

[ MORE: Nyarko says DC can aim high ]

Robinson has signed an extension through 2020, from WhitecapsFC.com:

“Carl’s body of work over the course of his five years at the club has shown that he is one of the top up-and-coming head coaches in North America. While this past season was certainly a learning experience for everyone involved within the club, we have complete faith in Carl’s continued vision in acquiring the necessary players to build a team that will compete with the best in MLS.”

Robinson turned 40 this month, and has been leading the ‘Caps since December 2013. This is a smart move for both Vancouver and its coach.