Jermain Defoe to be unveiled on Monday at Toronto FC, will stay at Spurs until March

Leave a comment

The long-winded transfer saga that has been Jermain Defoe’s switch to Major League Soccer has finally come to an end, as Defoe will officially be announced as a Toronto FC player on Monday.

According to reports today, in that deal is a clause that will allow the England international to remain at White Hart Lane right up until the start of the MLS season in March. This is because Spurs’ manager Tim Sherwood wants cover for his first-choice strike partnership of Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado.

BTW, watch the video above as Toronto FC are preempting the Defoe announcement with a series of videos. You’ve got to love TFC’s sense of humor, right?

(MORE: Defoe to Toronto FC official)

So, Toronto are splashing the cash with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) and Tim Leiweke doing this thing big over the offseason. While rumors of Michael Bradley’s impending arrival to Toronto from AS Roma continue to swirl around, this Defoe deal is done. Toronto are sending out a major message to the rest of MLS, and are hoping these additions and others will catapult them towards being a MLS Cup contender.

As for Defoe’s deal, let’s break down the specifics:

  • Toronto will pay Tottenham a transfer fee of $9 million
  • Defoe will remain at Tottenham until March, he will then move to TFC for start of MLS 2014 season
  • The weekly wage is reported to be $135,000 a week (£90,000)
  • Defoe’s contract with Toronto and MLS is rumored to be a four-year deal

Defoe, 31, is getting a seriously good deal by joining Toronto. Financially.

But he’s also excited to take the next step in his career, and he still has plenty to give. It’s said that Roy Hodgson is okay with Defoe joining Toronto in March, as he will be playing regularly right up until the English national team manager selects his World Cup squad for Brazil 2014.

(MORE: With Michael Bradley, Jermain Defoe, what would a Toronto FC starting XI look like?)

source: Getty Images
Jermain Defoe is one of the best finishers in English soccer history. Are Toronto FC spending their money wisely?

Yet, if Defoe does go to the World Cup it may hamper his settling-in period in Toronto FC significantly and look how long it took late-arrivals (including manager Ryan Nelsen) to settle in MLS with TFC in 2013, after coming in just weeks before the season began.

Seeing their top player potentially head straight off to Brazil wouldn’t be ideal but TFC would be getting one of English soccer’s most lethal finishers. This season Defoe has scored nine times in 11 games, as his appearances at Spurs have been limited but that predatory instincts has remained intact.

Whenever ‘JD’ gets a chance he will bury it, so it’s likely Toronto will get plenty of goals back for the huge amount of money they’re forking out.

When you talk about ‘bang for your buck’ I think Defoe will bring that WOW factor to MLS, Toronto and even help prolong his career considerably.

Barcelona plan Cruyff tribute at club’s training center

Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images
Leave a comment

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) One year after his death, Barcelona says it will name the future stadium at its training center after Dutch great Johan Cruyff.

The new stadium at Barcelona’s training center just outside the Catalan city will be called “Johan Cruyff Stadium” in honor of the club’s former player and coach.

Barcelona says in a statement that “the most emblematic building in the facility where future Barca players are coached is to be named after somebody who played such a central role in fostering youth talent at the club.”

Barcelona also says it will commission a “commemorative sculpture” of Cruyff, who died of lung cancer on March 24 last year at age 68. The statue will be placed at Barcelona’s main Camp Nou stadium.

Cruyff is largely credited with launching Barcelona’s era of trophy success, both as a player and a coach.

As a player, Cruyff joined Barcelona midseason in 1973 and led the middle-of-the-table team to its first national title in a decade.

He later returned as a coach and guided Barcelona to four consecutive Spanish leagues from 1991-94 and the club’s first European Cup in 1992.

“I think the tributes are very warming,” said Cruyff’s son, Jordi Cruyff. “It sort of changes the sadness that we might feel as family to lose a father, a husband and a grandfather. It changes to a certain kind of pride to understand that he left something behind.”

MLS Snapshot: Defense optional — Crew SC outlast Timbers, 3-2

AP Photo/Bryan Woolston
Leave a comment

The game in 100 words (or less): As far as teams who get out in the open field and score the lion’s share of their goals on the counter-attacking, there aren’t many MLS teams better than Columbus Crew SC and the Portland Timbers. The two sides met Saturday night at MAPFRE Stadium, site of their MLS Cup 2015 clash, and lived up to their reputations. Of the five goals scored, two were notched on flat-out counters and two more came to pass through quick transitional movements. Portland (9 points) dropped their first points of the season, falling 3-2 to goals scored by Justin Meram, Ola Kamara and Niko Hansen, while Crew SC have back-to-back wins and find themselves level on points (7) with the New York Red Bulls with each side having played four games.

[ MORE: Saturday’s MLS (afternoon) roundup ]

Three Four Five moments that mattered

4′ — Asprilla opens the scoring early on — 2017 Crew SC defending, same as 2016 Crew SC defending.

11′ — Meram fires home the rebound for 1-1 — One of Portland’s biggest weaknesses last season was their set-piece defending. Looks like not much has changed.

19′ — Higuain feeds Kamara for a 2-1 lead — The question mark that Portland will eventually have to answer is this: How much, if at all, have they improved defensively in the open field? Based on this Crew SC counter-attack, the answer might be “not much.”

45+3′ — Adi recovers to make it 2-2 — Everything Adi does these days (even the bad things, like this first touch) ends up being good.

84′ — Hansen cleans up at the back post for 3-2 — Jake Gleeson made a spectacular reaction save to deny Kamara his second goal of the game, but the rookie, making his MLS debut, was in the right place at the right time.

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

Men of the match: Wil Trapp

Goalscorers: Asprilla (4′), Meram (11′), Kamara (19′), Adi (45+3′), Hansen (84′)

Andorra’s 11-year, 58-game losing streak is over

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images
Leave a comment

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Rarely has a scoreless stalemate in front of the home fans tasted so sweet.

But 11 years of nothing but losing will do that to a team.

Andorra’s 0-0 draw with fellow minnow Faroe Islands in World Cup qualifying on Saturday ended its run of 58 competitive defeats.

It was the first point in qualifying for the Pyrenees mountain principality, population 80,000, since a scoreless draw with Finland in 2005.

Faroe Islands finished with 10 men after Joan Edmundsson was booked a second time with 15 minutes to play.

World Cup qualifiers: Dutch disaster persists; Greece hold Belgium

AP Photo/Armando Franca
Leave a comment

A roundup of all of Saturday’s World Cup qualifying fixtures, as Groups A, B and H hit the halfway point in Europe…

[ MORE: USA 6-0 Honduras | Three things we learned | Player ratings ]

Bulgaria 2-0 Netherlands

Spas Delev scored both Bulgarian goals (5th and 20th minutes) to secure all three points and send Danny Blind’s Netherlands side (7 points) into fourth place in Group A, six points back of leaders France and three back of second-place (qualifying playoffs) Sweden.

17-year-old Matthijs de Ligt was handed his international debut for the Dutch; he was ultimately at fault for both of Delev’s goals; he was subbed off at halftime (as was Georginio Wijnaldum).

Luxembourg 1-3 France

Olivier Giroud scored twice (28th and 77th minutes) for France, and Antoine Griezmann added the other (37th minute – penalty kick), as Les Bleus maintained their three-point lead in Group A. Kylian Mbappe, Monaco’s 18-year-old rising star, made his international debut in the 78th minute, when he replaced Dimitri Payet.

Portugal 3-0 Hungary

Cristiano Ronaldo bagged the 69th and 70th goals of his international career (36th and 65th minutes), as Portugal (12 points) kept pace with an unbeaten Switzerland side (15 points) which managed a 1-0 victory over Latvia to keep their 100-percent record intact. Andre Silva scored the opener (32nd minute) for Portugal, the 21-year-old Porto striker’s fifth goal in six international appearances.

Belgium 1-1 Greece

Romelu Lukaku‘s 89th-minute rescued a point for Group H leaders Belgium (13 points), but it did little to mask an otherwise uninspiring performance from Roberto Martinez’s side. Kostas Mitroglu put Greece ahead in the first minute of the second half, but Panagiotis Tachtsidis saw his second yellow of the game in the 65th minute, and that was the start of Greece’s unraveling. The draw was just enough to keep Greece (11 points) in second, ahead of Bosnia-Herzegovina, whose 5-0 thrashing of Gibraltar moved them to 10 points with a superior goal differential.

Elsewhere in UEFA’s World Cup qualifying

Group A

Sweden 4-0 Belarus

Group B

Switzerland 1-0 Latvia
Andorra 0-0 Faroe Islands

Group H

Bosnia-Herzegovina 5-0 Gibraltar
Cyprus 0-0 Estonia