Vancouver’s Camilo for league MVP? The argument may die before it really gets started

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If anyone remembers the predominant argument for and against Chicago’s Mike Magee as a potential league MVP (or, for that matter, if anyone wants to click on it here), then making the case for and against Vancouver Whitecaps talented Brazilian attacker Camilo is a cut-and-paste job.

It’s the same doggone thing.

Unfortunately for Camilo, that doesn’t say good things about the chances of adding his name to the distinguished list of Major League Soccer’s Most Valuable Players.

Camilo is certainly doing his part. He is just one off the pace for MLS Golden Boot, a mere goal behind Montreal sniper Marco Di Vaio (and dead even with Magee, both on 18 goals).

Beyond that, Camilo is delivering important goals (like last night’s pair, and like the important insurance goal in a big road win two weeks ago at Montreal). And beyond even that, he is providing some sensational strikes; last night scissors kick for the late, critical equalizer was a genuine YouTube-worthy stunner.

Heck, we are not even talking about Vancouver as even a playoff longshot today if Camilo doesn’t nail that one. But therein lies the problem.

The Whitecaps remain a longshot.

Martin Rennie’s team plays at Seattle and at Colorado over the next two weeks, and probably need to win both just for a shot at post-season soccer going into the regular season’s final weekend. (Vancouver hosts Colorado on the last round of MLS regular season play.) The Whitecaps badly needed all three points last night; that would have pulled the Caps’ level with San Jose, both still one spot below the playoff red line.

As it is now, Colorado will have to collapse spectacularly and San Jose will need a mini-collapse of its own for the Whitecaps just to have a chance.

Now back to the “Magee argument.” Remember, only once in league history has the star man of a non-playoff team earned league MVP. That was Dwayne De Rosario back in 2011, when the trio of finalists could be called “high quality, but not overwhelmingly spectacular.” (The other finalists were Houston assist king Brad Davis and young Dallas winger Brek Shea.)

This year, the likes of Robbie Keane, Di Vaio and Magee (if Chicago can make the playoffs, that is) will be too strong, and a player who can’t push his team into the post-season will fall aside before the argument ever really gets going.

Camilo would have a strong MVP case to make – but his team probably isn’t going to make the playoffs, and that’s going to be a real buzz kill on his chances.

Ronaldo: “I always believe I am the best”

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You’ve got to appreciate the over-sized ego of Cristiano Ronaldo, even if it is deserved.

The 33-year-old Real Madrid striker was bestowed the 2017 Player of the Year award from the Portugal FA, earning 65 percent of the vote. But more than winning yet another trophy to add to his burgeoning case was what he told the media after accepting the award.

“We have to defend what is ours because there is always a Portuguese in the fight (for the top awards),” Ronaldo said, via AS. “I always believe and say that I am the best, whatever they say, and then I show it in the field. We are in the fight year after year.”

Ronaldo did score 42 goals last year for Real Madrid and has scored 18 goals in 2018 alone already for Los Blancos as the club look to go back-to-back-to-back in the UEFA Champions League.

Miazga: “We’re all ready to make an impression” with USMNT

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Last October, for reasons unknown, Matt Miazga didn’t make the U.S. Men’s National Team squad for its final two World Cup qualifiers.

Five months later, he’s risen to the top of the centerback depth chart.

[MORE: Digging into the USMNT roster]

The hulking centerback spoke on Tuesday as the USMNT started off its training camp in Cary, N.C., noting that the youth-laden squad wanted to make an impression to stay in the picture moving forward. With four years until the next World Cup and still more than a year until competitive matches, there is still plenty of shuffling and expanding of the player pool to do before then.

Have a listen to Miazga and enjoy the sights and sounds of the USMNT training camp ahead of its friendly match against Paraguay.


Banker Gaetano Micciche elected Serie A president

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MILAN (AP) Bank boss Gaetano Micciche has been elected president of Serie A.

Micciche, the president of Banca IMI, was chosen unanimously on Monday by the Italian league’s 20 clubs.

He succeeds Maurizio Beretta, who left the position nearly a year ago.

[ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

The league has been under emergency leadership, first by former Italian football federation president Carlo Tavecchio then by Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago.

Malago recommended Micciche for the position.

The federation remains under emergency leadership following Tavecchio’s resignation in the wake of Italy’s failure to qualify for the World Cup.

Report: Liverpool to resist all offers for Salah

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Liverpool has a message for any club looking to sign Mohamed Salah this summer: Not gonna happen.

The Merseyside club has reportedly said it will “not sell Salah under any circumstances this summer” as the Reds look to hold off the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona, according to The Telegraph. Salah’s four-goal tally against Watford on Saturday took his goal total to an incredible 28 in 32 Premier League games, with another seven goals in cup competitions.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Liverpool famously kept Barcelona – and Arsenal – off Luis Suarez after the Uruguayan striker wanted to leave in 2013, but Liverpool was only able to stop Barcelona from signing Philippe Coutinho for six months.

As things stand, Liverpool are qualified for the 2018-2019 UEFA Champions League with the club sitting in a top four Premier League place, and keeping Salah is absolutely vital if the Reds want to make a deep run in the competition and compete for a Premier League title. It remains to be seen though if Salah is happy to stay at Liverpool or if a big-money offer from Spain or France can tempt him otherwise to set himself and his family financially for life.