D.C. United set to part ways with Dwayne De Rosario

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Dwayne De Rosario’s days in the nation’s capital are over. According to the Washington Post’s Steven Goff, the 2011 Major League Soccer Most Valuable Player cleaned out his locker on Wednesday, departing D.C. United shortly after the club informed him his 2014 contract option would not be picked up.

According to the Post, the club also has no intention of offering the 35-year-old a new deal at a lower salary, closing the door on the possibility of the former San Jose, Houston, Toronto and New York star returning at a reduced price. The most expensive player on D.C. United’s roster, De Rosario make $630,000 in 2013.

[MORE: Starting to clean up the roster mess at D.C. United]

Like the rest of his team, De Rosario struggled through a disappointing 2013 season, recording only three goals and two assists in 24 appearances (17 starts).  The Canadian international added five goals during D.C. United’s successful U.S. Open Cup run but wasn’t able to prevent his team from setting an MLS record for fewest wins in season (three).

From the Post:

Asked last week whether he would like to remain in Washington next year, De Rosario said he was excited about playing in the CONCACAF Champions League …. He also cited a desire to remain in the same city for the last segment of his career with his wife and four children.

United, though, had no intention of exercising the contract option. The big question was whether the club would offer a new deal at a considerably lower rate and, if so, whether he would accept both the smaller salary and a secondary role. Ultimately, United did not see him in its plans in any capacity and needed both the salary cap space and, according to one source, “the room for younger players to grow into bigger roles” next year.

Thus ends De Rosario’s two-plus year run in D.C., one that produced 23 goals in 68 appearances. In addition to his MVP award, “De Ro” won a Golden Boot and made a Best XI during his time with the black and red, having arrived from New York during the middle of the 2011 season.

[MORE: Unwanted recognition: D.C. United sets MLS record with three-win season]

Given his age, 2013 performance, and compensation, De Rosario’s future in Major League Soccer’s now particularly unclear. While any player let go by a club will have doubts about their future, De Rosario’s are more pronounced. Set to turn 36 early next season, De Rosario may not only have to accept a lower salary but potentially a diminished role. Though he was at the center of things for D.C. United, it’s unlikely another team will see him as a potential focal point.

You hate to get too speculative about these things, but was can all see where this is headed. Is De Rosario ready to switch cities, play for maybe one-fifth the money, and fight for a job with a new team? Or is it time for him to move on to the next phase of his life, contenting himself with his 103 career goals, 77 career assists, and four MLS Cup titles?

Only De Rosario knows how much he has left. D.C. United wasn’t willing to pay to find out.

MLS Snapshot: New York City FC 2-1 New England Revolution (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): For nearly 75 minutes, NYCFC couldn’t muster up any chances in the attacking third, but thankfully their captain did what he does best. David Villa scored his 19th goal of the season on Sunday night to pull out a 2-1 win against the New England Revolution, but it was rookie Jonathan Lewis that notched the winner. The visitors took the lead 20 minutes prior after Sean Johnson spilled a shot in front of his own goal, allowing Teal Bunbury to pounce on the rebound. NYCFC now moves to within four points of Eastern Conference leaders Toronto FC with nine matches remaining in the regular season.

Three four moments that mattered

16′ — Harrison breaks ankles, but Villa can’t finish — This might be the only time all see you’ll see David Villa miss a chance like this…

38′ — Johnson gets a finger tip to Rowe’s blast — Sean Johnson had no work to do in the first half, at least until Kelyn Rowe decided to rip a shot from distance just before halftime.

57′ — Johnson’s error grants Bunbury, Revs the lead — Look away, NYCFC fans.

77′ — Villa find the back of the net — When you need a goal, who you gonna call? That’s right. David Villa. The NYCFC captain is now up to 19 this season.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: David Villa

Goalscorers: Teal Bunbury (57′), David Villa (77′), Jonathan Lewis (90+4′)

Honoring victims of attacks, Barcelona wins league opener

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Wearing shirts honoring victims of the recent attacks in Spain, Barcelona opened its Spanish league season with a comfortable 2-0 win over Real Betis on Sunday.

[ MORE: Neymar double helps PSG cruise past Toulouse ]

Players had the word “Barcelona” instead of their names on the back of their shirts, and the Catalan hashtag “TOTSSOMBARCELONA” (We are all Barcelona) was on display around the Camp Nou stadium. The message was also shown on the stadium’s large screens, as well as on many banners carried by fans.

An emotional minute’s silence was held before the game as the music of Catalan cellist Pau Casals played in the background.

Before the minute was up, the more than 55,000 fans at the stadium broke into a round of applause and began chanting “No tinc por” (I’m not afraid), a chant which has become a symbol of people’s reactions to the attacks that killed 14 people and injured more than 120 in Barcelona and the nearby seaside resort of Cambrils.

Extra security was implemented in and around Camp Nou.

There was a minute’s silence before every Spanish league match this weekend.

Without Neymar and the injured Luis Suarez, Barcelona got off to a winning start in the league after consecutive losses to rival Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup final.

It scored two goals three minutes apart near the end of the first half – an own-goal by Betis defender Alin Tosca and a close-range shot by Sergi Roberto. Both goals came after plays started by Gerard Deulofeu, one of the players expected to try to replace Neymar after his world record transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.

“We lost depth with Neymar’s departure and we have to find a way to overcome that,” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said.

Lionel Messi looked lively but wasn’t able to score his 350th goal in La Liga. He came close, though, being denied by the woodwork three different times.

AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni contributed to this report.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga

Brighton breaks club record with signing of winger Jose Izquierdo

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Brighton hasn’t gotten off to the ideal start in its debut season in the Premier League, but a key reinforcement is on the way.

[ MORE: Chelsea tops Spurs at Wembley behind Alonso’s brace ]

After starting the 2017/18 campaign with back-to-back defeats, the Seagulls announced on Sunday the signing of Colombian winger Jose Izquierdo from Club Brugge in Belgium for a record fee.

The 25-year-old spent three seasons in Belgium’s top flight and totaled 38 goals across all competitions for Brugge, prior to making the move to England.

Additionally, Izquierdo has worked his way into the Colombia squad as of late, and scored his first international goal for his country in June 2017 in a friendly against Cameroon.

MLS Follow Live — NYCFC hosts Revs, Minnesota meets Sounders

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Only two matches will feature on the MLS docket Sunday evening, but luckily two of the league’s most exciting teams will take to the pitch.

[ MORE: Toronto tops Fire as East leaders reach 50 points on season ]

First, New York City FC will attempt to continue its ascent up the Eastern Conference ladder when they host Kei Kamara and the New England Revolution.

In the night cap, the Seattle Sounders look to extend their unbeaten streak to nine matches when they welcome newcomers Minnesota United to CenturyLink Field.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Here’s the schedule and kick-off times for Sunday’s two MLS fixtures.

New York City FC vs. New England Revolution — 6 p.m. ET
Seattle Sounders vs. Minnesota United — 10 p.m. ET