ProSoccerTalk’s MLS Team of the Week – Week 1

2 Comments

Forwards

Will Bruin, Houston Dynamo – Also known as PST Player of the Week Will Bruin, the Dancing Bear had two goals an an assist in the Dynamo’s 4-0 win over visiting New England.

We could be wrong about: Joao Plata, Real Salt Lake

Midfielders

Sebastián Fernández, Vancouver Whitecaps – Starting wide left in Carl Robinson’s 4-2-3-1, the Uruguayan was a constant presence cutting in underneath Darren Mattocks. He scored the weekend’s best goal, blasting home from well outside the area in Vancouver’s 4-1 win over New York.

Kenny Miller, Vancouver Whitecaps (pictured, above) – With his trademark relentlessness on display, Miller bagged a brace against New York, with his conversion from the spot opening Saturday’s scoring at BC Place.

Federico Higuaín, Columbus Crew – Two goals and his trademark command of Columbus’s counterattack helped Higuaín and the Crew overcome the absence of Dominic Oduro to hand D.C. United a 3-0 opening day loss.

Boniek Garcia, Houston Dynamo – The weekend’s best two-way performance also saw Boniek get on the scoresheet with Houston’s third goal. A Best XI-caliber player gave a Best XI-caliber performance.

Nigel Reo-Coker, Vancouver Whitecaps – The acquisition of Matías Laba allowed Reo-Coker to pursue the gaps in midfield, creating a balance that underpin Vancouver’s postseason hopes. His freedom to get forward was evident on Pedro Morales’ goal.

We could be wrong about: Kyle Beckerman, Real Salt Lake; Mauro Rosales, Chivas USA; Mauro Díaz, FC Dallas; Osvaldo Alonso, Seattle Sounders; Maurice Edu, Philadelphia Union

Defenders

source: APJosh Williams, Columbus Crew – D.C.’s Nick DeLeon did little to hinder the run, but Williams early surge down the right and well-hit cross for Jairo Arrieta allowed the Crew to claim an early lead at RFK. Also helped his team keep a clean sheet, an effort that require him to remain strong when Eddie Johnson drifted to his flank to serve as a target for D.C. long balls.

Chad Marshall, Seattle Sounders – The value he provides on set pieces is already evident, with Marshall’s overall game also hinting he’ll be a significant upgrade to what Seattle took into last year’s playoffs.

Michael Parkhurst, Columbus Crew – Crucial tackles showed the value the U.S. international brings in Marshall’s place. Though he and his teammates were rarely tested by D.C., Parkhurst still showed the talents that could against make him one of Major League Soccer’s best defenders.

Corey Ashe, Houston Dynamo – A great read to create a turnover ahead of a well-served ball meant Ashe played a crucial part in Houston’s second goal. Already with two All-Star appearances, Ashe is off to a strong start in his quest for a third.

We could be wrong about: Amobi Okugo, Philadelphia; Bobby Burling, Chivas USA, Nat Borchers, Real Salt Lake; DeAndre Yedlin, Seattle Sounders

Goalkeeper

Nick Rimando, Real Salt Lake (pictured, with Chris Wingert) – Were it not for one (albeit big) first half mistake, the U.S. international would have been our Player of the Week. Even with that error, Rimando was clearly the week’s best keeper, delivering eight saves and a penalty kick stop in the Western Conference champions’ 1-0 win in Los Angeles.

We could be wrong about: Donovan Ricketts, Portland Timbers

John Cena makes entertaining Premier League predictions

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Leave a comment

We do not recommend putting any money on John Cena’s Premier League predictions for this weekend.

The actor and WWE star was the guest picker on the BBC site on Friday, and admitted his soccer knowledge doesn’t extend much further than Cristiano Ronaldo and a tour of Tottenham (he has a fondness for Spurs, it seems).

[ PL PREVIEW: Chelsea vs. Southampton ]

But his actual selections are quite amusing. From picking matches based on species to trying to anger his fiancee’s Arsenal supporting brother, Cena brought the goods.

Our favorites:

Why West Ham will win at Stoke: “Who doesn’t love a good ham? It provides you with nourishment, happiness and a sense of community. It is always served at a big family function gathering. I like West Ham. 0-1.”

Why Southampton will win at Chelsea: “From where I am from, in Massachusetts, Southampton is a pretty cool place, so I am going to have to pick them, only because of how it relates to the States.”

Premier League Preview: Chelsea vs. Southampton

Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images
Leave a comment
  • Chelsea leads all-time 41W-28D-28L
  • Saints have points in 3 of 5 at Stamford Bridge
  • Southampton winless in four straight league games

Chelsea returns home following an emphatic away win to meet a Southampton side fresh off embarrassment at home (Watch live Saturday at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Saints were battered 4-1 at St. Mary’s by former coach Claude Puel, while Antonio Conte‘s Chelsea rebounded from a loss at West Ham by battering Huddersfield Town 4-1 at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Conte was asked to compare Alvaro Morata to club legend Didier Drogba, as the Spanish striker has reportedly been studying footage of the big Ivorian.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

“They are two different players with different characteristics,” he said. “Didier Drogba brought history to this club and he’s a wonderful player, a wonderful striker because he continues to play. He’s a great striker, more powerful than Alvaro but Alvaro, don’t forget, has a lot of space for improvement. He’s strong physically, he’s a technical player and I see a great future for Alvaro.”

Chelsea still won’t have David Luiz available, while Southampton has no new injury concerns despite the recent schedule congestion.

What they’re saying

Antonio Conte on Southampton premonitions“‘My expectation is for us to suffer, I have this sensation, so we must pay great attention. When you play after a bad defeat, especially at home, there is great attention of the coach and the club because they don’t want to continue a bad run. They want to give a good answer against a strong team like Chelsea.”

Saints’ Mauricio Pellegrino on facing Chelsea: “We want to show our best version. Chelsea is a really difficult side but maybe we can find more space.  We have to do a really good game to have a possibility of winning, but hopefully after a difficult moment we can bounce back. In this club, we want to show we are committed to trying to be competitive, our energy and commitment to the club.”

Prediction

Saints are wounded, but Chelsea has the better depth and form. Charlie Austin or Sofiane Boufal may force a goal past Thibaut Courtois, but look for the Blues to pull out a 2-1 win.

FIFA suspends Brazilian soccer president Marco Polo del Nero

Getty Images
Leave a comment

ZURICH (AP) FIFA has suspended Brazilian soccer federation president Marco Polo del Nero for 90 days while he is under an ethics investigation.

Del Nero has remained in power in Brazil despite being charged by American authorities with racketeering and money laundering in 2015.

FIFA says Del Nero has been provisionally banned from all soccer activities as formal ethics investigation proceedings are conducted.

Del Nero fled Zurich in May 2015 when FIFA colleagues were arrested, quit the executive committee of soccer’s governing body after missing meetings and was then indicted in the United States in December 2015. He has not been extradited from Brazil to face the charges.

Preview: How can Tottenham stop Man City?

Leave a comment

Can anyone stop Manchester City? Tottenham Hotspur will try this Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com) with Mauricio Pochettino‘s men aiming to give the chasing pack some hope that City can be caught.

[ LIVE: Stream Man City v. Spurs

Pep Guardiola‘s men have won 15 consecutive Premier League games to stretch their lead atop the PL to 11 points heading into the busy festive season, but a visit from Spurs represents one of their toughest tests of the season so far.

Spurs currently sit in fourth place in the table but are 18 points behind City.

In team news Man City have no fresh injury concerns as Vincent Kompany could return after missing out at Swansea City in midweek, but John Stones remains out injured.

Tottenham will be missing Victor Wanyama and Toby Alderweireld through injury, while Davinson Sanchez serves the final game of his three-match ban.


What they’re saying

Guardiola on Man City going the entire season unbeaten: “It is not going to happen. We are going to lose games, it belongs to Arsene Wenger. Now what happens is an exception, it’s not normal what we’ve done. We’ll try to maintain it but we are going to lose games. It is important is to play better, that’s important. Records are OK but they stay there and one day they will be broken. We focus on the pitch and try to be better, make chances, concede few. I’m happy with the way we play – although I feel we can do much, much better.”

Pochettino on Man City’s incredible run: “They [Manchester City] are showing that they are not only the best in England but in Europe too with the Champions League. They are playing so well and deserve all the praise. It will be so tough. I think Manchester City deserve all the credit with what they are doing.”

Prediction

Spurs will prove a tough test for a rampant Man City squad and I expect Dele Alli and Harry Kane to cause plenty of problems for a threadbare City defense. 2-2.