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Chelsea’s Samuel Eto’o set for move to Major League Soccer


Last month speculation arose that Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o could be headed to Major League Soccer with Toronto FC the rumored destination.

Despite TFC’s need to add two to three designated players, many hemmed and hawed over the rumor.

Today, The Guardian is reporting that the veteran Cameroon forward is expected to move to Major League Soccer but it won’t be to Southern Ontario.

Wanting a move to the US rather than Canada, it’s believed Eto’o will move to Los Angeles Galaxy, DC United and Club Deportivo Chivas USA, Seattle Sounders or Chicago Fire.

Since arriving at Chelsea this past summer on a one-year deal from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala for a cut-price $8.2 million, Eto’o has scored two goals in nine Premier League matches while also netting twice in the 3-0 win over Schalke in the Champions League.

Signed on deadline-day, Eto’o was widely believed to be a stop-gap for Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho following his failure to sign Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney and his decision to loan out Romelu Lukaku to Everton. Used in rotation with Fernando Torres and to a lesser extent, Demba Ba, Eto’o has won decent plaudits.

The three strikers have combined for a meager four league goals between them, which was enough to set Mourinho off in a post-match rant following his side’s 3-2 loss to Stoke City on Saturday. With options limited and Lukaku due back at Stamford Bridge next summer, the Portuguese boss is believed to be unwilling to dip into the January transfer window for a new striker.

“At the end of the season we will be in better condition to analyze our squad, to analyze the market and, normally, make a couple of changes to improve the team for next season,” said Mourinho, “but this season, we are ready to go to the end with the same people.”

Exactly where Eto’o may land in MLS remains a point of intrigue. Whatever side does manage to scoop him up will do so on a free transfer, a bonus to a potentially costly acquisition. At Anzhi, Eto’o earned $28 million per year, the highest salary in the world. This year at Chelsea that figure was slashed to $11 million.

Whether Eto’o can make an impact in MLS is another point of debate. While adjusting to the change from Russian to English Premier Leagues is no easy feat, the Cameroonian legend has shown flashes of form but has failed to provide a consistent attacking threat. Surrounded be talented, creative players at Chelsea, his inability to record a consistent goal haul is a bit worrying.

Nevertheless, the 32-year-old remains one of the games very best goal-poachers and few will doubt the quality and impact he could have in America.

Eto’o is expected to open pre-contract talks with MLS clubs in January before departing for the United States at the end of the campaign.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City SC 2-1 Montreal Impact

Cyle Larin, Orlando City SC

The game in 100 words (or less): For weeks, it was a widely held belief that the Montreal Impact would snatch up the sixth and final playoff place in the Eastern Conference with little or no resistance from their opposition. As they went six games unbeaten (four wins), all looked to be setting up perfect for the club that fired Frank Klopas midseason, but there was another team in the race for sixth that kept winning themselves: Orlando City SC. On Saturday night, Montreal and Orlando City faced off at the Citrus, with the expansion Lions claiming their fourth-straight victory with a 2-1 triumph. Montreal now holds a one-point lead on Orlando in the race for sixth, and have two games in hand, but it’s no longer a foregone conclusion L’Impact will qualify for the playoffs no resistance whatsoever.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

33′ — Bush’s mistake gifts Larin the opening goal — Larin did what your taught to do as a striker — “put it on frame, test the goalkeeper” — but in no universe does a shot so feeble have any business finding the back of the net. Evan Bush has been great this year. Hopefully (for Montreal’s sake), this howler doesn’t turn into the yips with the playoffs looming.

43′ — Hall’s “mistake” gifts Oduro an equalizer — Dominic Oduro equalized in the 43rd minute, when he took the ball out of the hands of Tally Hall and smashed it into the back of the net, but the goal should have been disallowed due to Hall having full control of the ball.

80′ — Hines hits the winner for Orlando — Seb Hines put the ball back into the mixer and just so happened to find the back of the net in the 80th minute. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

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

Man of the match: Seb Hines

Goalscorers: Larin (33′), Oduro (43′), Hines (80′)

MLS Snapshot: NY Red Bulls 2-1 Columbus Crew SC

Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls
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The game in 100 words (or less): Two weeks in a row Columbus Crew SC have had a chance to go top of the Eastern Conference with a victory, and two weeks in a row Crew SC have failed to take a single point from massively important fixtures. Their latest defeat, a 2-1 humbling at the hands of the East-leading New York Red Bulls, started so well for Gregg Berhalter’s side, but was undone by a pair of costly, comedic defensive errors that allowed Lloyd Sam and Bradley Wright-Phillips (15th of the season) to erase an early deficit (Justin Meram) and win all three points. The result not only keeps the Red Bulls top of the East, but gives them a three- and four-point cushion with three and two games in hand on their nearest competitors., D.C. United and New England Revoltion respectively. For Crew SC, they’re four points back of the Red Bulls in fourth place, one point ahead of fifth-place Toronto FC, who have a game in hand.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

9′ — Meram pokes it past Robles for an early lead — Meram “earned” his goal all the way back in midfield, when the Iraqi international’s mazy run took a routine turnover inside Crew SC’s defensive half and turned it into a dangerous counter-attacking opportunity. Harrison Afful overlapped and provided the cross for Meram to send home.

12′ — Sam capitalizes on multiple mistakes to equalize — Crew SC pass the ball out of the back. They don’t boot it forward to clear. It’s just what they do. Sometimes, that’ll bite you. When your goalkeeper and right back both have blunders clearing the ball 10 seconds apart, you probably deserve to concede an ugly, scrappy goal.

21′ — Wright-Phillips capitalizes on more defensive gaffes — See the above description for Red Bulls goal no. 1.

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

Man of the match: Damien Perrinelle

Goalscorers: Meram (9′), Sam (12′), Wright-Phillips (21′)