Jozy

Sunderland teammate backs Jozy to start scoring as the two prepare to go head-to-head

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They may be playing each other on Friday, but their relationship remains friendly – just like the upcoming match between the United States and Scotland.

Fellow Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher has offered up big support for Jozy Altidore, whose Premier League goal tally with his new club remains on the goose egg.

But according to Fletcher, Jozy’s contribution to the Black Cats has much more to it than just a number.

“He has done really well since he joined the club” said the 26-year-old Scot. “He has really put himself about on the pitch and his work rate is amazing. I think you have to look at everything he has brought to the club and not look at him purely in terms of goals.”

Fletcher even gave specific examples, always a good idea when putting together a well thought-out argument.

“He set up both goals against Southampton as well as the winner against Newcastle and there is no way anyone should be complaining. He is a 100 per cent committed player every time and the goals will definitely come.  Jozy has settled in really well and he has been doing a fantastic job at the club. He is the sort of player who you know every time he goes on the pitch will give everything and that’s the sort of player we need right now.”

Perhaps the biggest compliment, however, came when Fletcher not only backed his teammate, but said any club would jump at the chance to grab a player of Jozy’s commitment level and work rate.

“In fact, it’s the sort of player every club needs” continued Fletcher. “Jozy will want to score a few more goals as all strikers do, but they will come. The important thing is he is contributing and in his last few games he has been one of our best and most consistent players.  His attitude is first class and that’s one of the reasons why he has been such a success at both club and international level. His goalscoring record for USA is incredible and that shows what a fine player he is.”

Those are some fine words from Jozy’s teammate/opponent.  They may be rival goalscorers on Friday, but int he dressing room, it’s clear the Sunderland players value the American’s presence and appreciate what he brings to the pitch.

Oh, and Fletcher finds the American’s stature a bit imposing as well. “I think I will bounce off Jozy if I go anywhere near him. Have you seen the size of the lad?”

D.C. United acquires Igboananike from Fire in trade

BRIDGEVIEW, IL - MARCH 06:  Andrea Pirlo #21 of the New York City FC looks to pass against Kennedy Igboananike #77 of the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on March 6, 2016 in Bridgeview, Illinois. The New York City FC defeated the Fire 4-3.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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With the playoffs still very much in sight, D.C. United is making another attempt to boost its struggling attack.

[ MORE: NYCFC, Rapids meet in Bronx on Saturday ]

After recently trading for New York City FC forward Patrick Mullins and New York Red Bulls midfielder Lloyd Sam, D.C. has completed a trade for Chicago Fire attacker Kennedy Igboananike in exchange for target allocation money and a third-round draft selection in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft.

In over a season-and-a-half in MLS with the Fire, Igboananike notched 11 goals and four assists in 49 matches. The Nigerian forward is a Designated Player, and is due to make over $900,000, according to the MLS Players’ Union website.

[ MORE: Christian Vieri trying to make comeback in Chinese Super League ]

D.C United is currently eighth in the Eastern Conference standings, sitting on 20 points through 21 matches. The team is four points behind the New England Revolution for the final playoff position.

Report: Atletico set to offer $52 million for Chelsea’s Costa

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09:  Diego Costa of Chelsea shoots past Thiago Silva of PSG to score a gol to level the scores at 1-1 during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second leg match between Chelsea and Paris Saint Germain at Stamford Bridge on March 9, 2016 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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Already with one of the world’s most dangerous attacks, Atletico Madrid is prepared to add another dimension into the mix.

[ MORE: Man City makes final bid for defender John Stones ]

Daily Mail is reporting that the Spanish side is prepared to offer Chelsea over $52 million for striker Diego Costa, who joined the team from Atletico back in 2014.

While the Blues have maintained their position that Costa isn’t for sale, Atletico looks to boost its already strong offense with the 27-year-old Spaniard. Diego Simeone’s group already features talented attacking duo Antoine Griezmann and Fernando Torres.

During his previous stint in La Liga, Costa netted 56 goals across all competitions in two seasons with the Rojiblancos.

[ MORE: Christian Vieri trying to make comeback in Chinese Super League ]

Chelsea is reportedly pursuing former striker Romelu Lukaku after signing Belgian Michy Batshuayi this summer. Antonio Conte’s side also features young forward Bertrand Traore, who has made a strong impression during the preseason.

Report: Manchester City makes final bid for John Stones

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 16:  Diego Costa of Chelsea and John Stones of Everton compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Everton at Stamford Bridge on January 16, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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Take it or leave it.

Manchester City has made a final push for Everton defender John Stones, and has set its last offer at $52 million. Last month, the Citizens made the same exact bid for the 22-year-old, which was rejected by Everton.

[ MORE: Italian legend Christian Vieri looks to join Chinese Super League ]

City is said to be looking to avoid overpaying for Stones, after compensating Porto over $55 million for centerback Eliaquim Mangala two years ago.

While Stones has gone on record saying that he wants to play for manager Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium, it remains to be seen if Everton will part ways with its prized defender.

NASL weekend preview: Rayo OKC faces stiff test against Minnesota

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Following a midweek loss against FC Edmonton, the New York Cosmos will try to rebound at home against Puerto Rico FC.

The Cosmos currently have two losses during the Fall Season, having conceded 10 goals in six matches, which is the second-most in NASL.

[ MORE: MLS weekend preview ]

With no unbeatens remaining, Spring Season champion Indy Eleven looks to keep its place near the top of the table against Miami FC.

Minnesota United looks to build off of its strong start against league leaders Rayo OKC, with the two teams separated by a mere two points.

Meanwhile, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers continue to search for their first win of the Fall Season against the struggling Jacksonville Armada.

Saturday

New York Cosmos vs. Puerto Rico FC

Ottawa Fury vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies

Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs. Jacksonville Armada

Miami FC vs. Indy Eleven

Rayo OKC vs. Minnesota United

Sunday

FC Edmonton vs. Carolina RailHawks