LA Galaxy’s new Brazilian loanee … and thinking back to last year’s young MLS import from Brazil

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Juninho’s presence in midfield for the LA Galaxy is a testament to what Bruce Arena’s team can leverage in loan from Brazil, so if there’s any trepidation about what the Carson-based bunch are doing by importing 22-year-old Samuel on loan from Fluminense, fans can look at the Galaxy’s track record. Though the team has a soft spot for Major League Soccer veterans, they have been somewhat shrewd about what they order from the Brasileirao. (Defender Leonardo has also provided valuable depth.)

Immediately upon hearing about the loan, however, I thought back to Rafael – the (then) 20-year-old that D.C. United imported last year as a young Designated Player. Unveiled as having experience in Brazil’s first division, the young striker’s time at Brazil’s top level was actually very limited, his only score coming in a meaningless game to close the 2012 season. After arriving from Bahia, the attacker never truly made an impact, his only goal in seven games coming from a long shot that Columbus’s Andy Gruenebaum badly misread. By June, Rafael was gone.

Samuel appears to be a much better bet then Rafael, mostly because we can see what he’s done in Brazil’s top division. Over the last two years with Fluminense, the forward has made 49 appearances (24 starts) and scored nine goals. While those aren’t earth-shaking numbers, they’re encouraging given Samuel’s age, the teams he played for (a league-winner in 2012; a relegated team in 2013), and the presence of Brazilian international Fred, who served as the team’s primary focus in attack.

In that sense, this isn’t just another random guy from Brazil on whom an MLS team is taking a flyer. LA fans aren’t being asked to believe scouting they can’t see or take it for granted that being imported form a better league necessarily means something about future output. They can look at what’s Samuel’s actually done.

The forward wasn’t a sure-fire starter for Fluminense (one of the biggest clubs in Rio de Janeiro), but he was getting playing time, scoring a goal every 257 league minutes. If that production carries over to MLS, he could be a useful spare part. If he improves on it against a lower level of competition, LA’s found themselves a valuable piece – somebody that could provide Arena with some valuable flexibility during the long MLS campaign.

Of course, there are the obligatory questions of fit and acclimation, but this isn’t another Rafael situation, and LA’s hasn’t had to use a young DP slot to make the move. This is a young player who has scored goals with a big team. And now he’s LA’s latest experiment in loans from Brazil.

Here’s a little taste of what he can do:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPMDSLbx218] [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-MeMJM6Hic]

2-year doping ban upheld for Finland, CSKA Moscow player

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld a two-year ban for CSKA Moscow midfielder Roman Eremenko for a positive test for cocaine.

[ MORE: Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]

CAS says the ban imposed by UEFA was “appropriate” and dismissed the Finland international’s appeal.

[ MORE: Vertonghen says Spurs need to “level up” like rest of PL contenders ]

The ban will expire on Oct. 5, 2018, when Eremenko will be 31.

Eremenko tested positive after playing in a Champions League game for CSKA Moscow against Bayer Leverkusen last September. The 2-2 result was not affected despite Eremenko scoring CSKA’s second goal.

Born in Moscow, Eremenko grew up in Finland and has represented its national team 73 times.

Webb says De Jong would have been sent off with video review

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NEW YORK (AP) Howard Webb says he would have given Dutch midfielder Nigel De Jong a red card in the 2010 World Cup final if a video assistant referee had been in place.

The retired English referee showed De Jong a yellow card in the 28th minute for his karate kick into the chest of Spain’s Xabi Alonso. Hired in March to oversee video technology for professional soccer in the U.S. and Canada, Webb held a media seminar Friday ahead of its Aug. 5 launch in Major League Soccer.

Webb says: “Yes, it was a clear red card. It was a clear and obvious error on my part not to send the player off, and VAR would have been able to recommend a review to me, and I would have been able to make the right call.”

Now 46, Webb was a Premier League referee from 2003-14. He worked the Champions League and World Cup finals in 2010, became director of referees at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, and started in March as manager of video assistant referee operations for the Professional Referee Organization.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City 0-1 Atlanta United (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Friday night’s effort at Orlando City Stadium wasn’t the prettiest for either side but Atlanta United will gladly take three points from the fixture as the Central Florida venue proved to be a fortress once more. The Lions were far superior in their attacking threats throughout the match, testing USMNT and Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan on multiple occasions. However, it was Hector Villalba that proved to be the difference when he blasted a long-distance effort to beat Joe Bendik in the 86th minute. Atlanta extends its unbeaten streak to four matches with Friday’s decision, keeping Tata Martino’s side in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, while Orlando City moves into fifth.

Three moments that mattered

36′ — Guzan stands tall, denies Rivas — Carlos Rivas thought he scorched this one (and he did…), but Brad Guzan acted like it was nothing as he held his ground to make the stop.

39′ — Spector gets ripped off by Guzan — The U.S. goalkeeper is at it again… What a save!

86′ — Villalba unleashes stunner to propel Atlanta — Sometimes it just takes one good hit as a striker.

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Man of the match: Brad Guzan

Goalscorers: Hector Villalba (86′)

Report: Man City adding Mendy to continue backline restoration

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Fresh off of completing a record deal to help bolster the club’s back line this summer, Manchester City is back at it with the Premier League season looming.

[ MORE: Alvaro Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]

The Citizens are reportedly on the brink of signing Monaco left back Benjamin Mendy to yet another world-record fee — which will total over $67 million.

Confirmation of the deal has yet to be announced by either team, but L’Equipe is reporting that the Citizens are hot on the 23-year-old’s trail in adding to their pricy back four.

Manager Pep Guardiola and Man City have not been shy readjusting their defensive unit over the past year, adding expensive first-team choices John Stones and Kyle Walker.