PST Man of the Match: Darlington Nagbe

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SEATTLE — Portland Timbers wunderkind midfielder Darlington Nagbe turned in another gem of a performance against Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday. He scored the second goal of the 2-1 first leg of the MLS Western Conference semifinal.

With his team up a goal, Nagbe began a run on the left wing that left multiple Seattle defenders frozen in place. Kalif Alhassan played a pinpoint ball to Nagbe’s foot, and he took a touch to turn and then fire past Marcus Hahnemann to seal the match — and probably the series.

Beyond his nose for goal in that instance, Nagbe had another steady game as Portland’s creative outlet on the wing. He completed 24 of 27 passes, good for a 88.9-percent success rate.

In a first half largely dominated by the Sounders, Nagbe held the ball up well in the attacking third. In the 42nd minute, he burned two defenders on the right side of the penalty area before Osvaldo Alonso had to take him down.

Diego Chará receives an honorable mention for Man of the Match, mostly as a result of his tireless work rate and constant ability to find the action areas. Everywhere the ball moved, Chará was on the spot, whether it was in attack or defense.

He pressed forward from his holding midfield spot more often than usual, leaving Will Johnson to cover. Chará received a secondary assist on Ryan Johnson’s opening goal, as it was his pass that found Jack Jewsbury overlapping on the right side.

On the other side of the field, Alonso also played well on both sides of the ball. He completed 100 percent of his 23 attempted passes in the first half, finishing with 54 of 59 successful passes in 90 minutes.

Defensively, he patrolled in front of Seattle’s center backs as usual, with varying success. But in a game where the Sounders failed to create many clear-cut opportunities, despite its clear superiority in attacking personnel and boisterous home crowd, Alonso kept possession ticking and looked for seams going forward.

When the Sounders needed an influential player to step up, Alonso was on the spot in the form of his 90th-minute volley to give his team some hope on Thursday. Should Seattle mount any sort of comeback, it will have its Cuban talisman — steady all season and his entire career in rave green — to thank.

Ferguson still being asked about Moyes: “We chose a good football man”

David Moyes Alex Ferguson
AP Photo/Martin Rickett/PA
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In some ways absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it seems Sir Alex Ferguson‘s life after Manchester United has been filled with second guessing.

Whether the sales of Paul Pogba and Gerard Pique or the appointment of David Moyes, “Fergie” apparently can’t rest on his title-winning laurels.

[ MORE: Tax evasion charges dropped against Messi, but not his father ]

One thing that seems to bug him more than anything, though, is the idea that he hand-picked David Moyes to be his successor, and should be responsible for his failings.

In a new documentary, Ferguson both defends the appointment of Moyes and explains the process behind his choice.

From the BBC:

“I don’t think we made a mistake at all. I think we chose a good football man,” Ferguson says. “Unfortunately it didn’t work for David.

“Jose Mourinho was going back to Chelsea, Carlo Ancelotti was going to Real Madrid, Jurgen Klopp had signed a contract with Dortmund, Louis Van Gaal was staying with Holland for the World Cup.”

The article also makes another key point, according to Ferguson: the manager claims he only gave United a few months notice that he’d be stepping down. That certainly didn’t provide a lot of lead time to secure a big boss.

What do you make it of it? If your answer is, “When can we stop talking about Moyes and United?” I tend to be with you, but it’s a talking point.

Tax evasion charges against Messi dropped; Case vs father continues

FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2013 file photo, Barcelona F.C. star Lionel Messi, left, arrives at a court to answer questions in a tax fraud case in Gava, near Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona prosecutors are calling for the arrest of Messi's father in a tax fraud case. Prosecutors have cleared Messi of wrongdoing but are seeking an 18-month prison sentence for his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, for allegedly defrauding Spain's tax office of 4 million euros ($4.5 million) in unpaid taxes from 2007-09. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, File)
AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
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Lionel Messi will not face charges that he and his father defrauded the government in millions of unpaid taxes, though his father is not so lucky.

Messi’s father, Jorge, could face 18 months in jail and an approximate $2.25 million fine despite a voluntary payment of $5.5 million in 2013 to “correct” the missed taxes.

[ WATCH: Hilarious spoof pegs Messi, Ronaldo as “Friends” ]

The Barcleona star had plead ignorance to the charges, something that failed to impress prosecutors. But, it apparently worked out in his favor on Tuesday.

From the BBC:

Prosecutors allege that Jorge avoiding paying tax on his son’s earnings by using offshore companies in Belize and Uruguay between 2007 and 2009.

Messi’s lawyers argued that the player had “never devoted a minute of his life to reading, studying or analysing” the contracts, El Pais newspaper reported.