ProSoccerTalk’s MLS Player of the Week: Vancouver’s Kekuta Manneh

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Just look at the list of fine strikers (and feel free to register appropriate levels of head-nodding approval) who have recorded a hat trick this year in MLS. It’s a real who’s who of high-profile goal-getters around the league.

This list includes MLS all-time leading scorer Landon Donovan, Irish international Robbie Keane, veteran Costa Rican international Alvaro Saborio and both Golden Boot frontrunners Marco Di Vaio and Mike Magee.

Oh, and then there is Kekuta Manneh (pictured), who hardly carries the same name cache. Heck , the man could walk into the most soccer friendly pub in the United States or Canada and not stir up a fuss. Probably even in Vancouver, where he plays professionally!

That by itself would be enough to make Manneh a fine Player of the Week choices. But also consider this, and his case really is a slam dunk for Week 33 in the league:

  • It was just the fourth professional start for the 18-year-old striker. Not bad, eh?
  • He is the youngest MLS hat trick hero. Not one bit bad, either. Consider that a guy like Jozy Altidore scored his first pro goal for the Red Bulls at age 16. Juan Agudelo was just 18 when he scored his first goal for the same club. Freddy Adu was just 14 when he earned his young goal-scorers badge. The point is, some talented attackers have scored at a young age in MLS, so being the youngest hat trick man is saying something.
  • It blazed the path for an absolutely mammoth win for the Whitecaps, a Cascadia Cup thrashing (4-1) against a bitter rival, the first Whitecaps win at Seattle in the modern era and a win that reenergized Vancouver’s playoff chances, previously left alongside the road and all but forgotten.
  • His hat trick was just the seventh in MLS this year. (From the list above, Keane has two of them.)

Here are the match highlights from his big night at CenturyLink:


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.