Our pals over at Soccerly are wondering whether one week is enough for Portland to get rid of the rust that saw the club barely find an equalizer against Philadelphia during last weekend’s home-opening draw at Providence Park.
Can’t blame them, but is their criticism of the Timbers timidity something for Portland fans to worry over?
“Win, lose, or draw, talk of dominance in possession is a recurring theme for Porter during post match press conferences, but unless passes are converted to assists the words can ring hollow, ‘we still had 59 percent of the possession, so we still had a lot of the ball. Still had 15 shots to 10. We were still the better team between the boxes, but we didn’t make a play on a corner.'”
While the Timbers had some new pieces in play, Philly could claim the same — including perhaps their most important piece in Maurice Edu — and had hauled it across the continent for the match. As Soccerly points out, it was an uncharacteristic mistake from Union captain Brian Carroll that kickstarted the match-tying goal.
I don’t think too many people are debating whether the Timbers are for real. They’re also a team that, as I pointed out in the Timbers season preview, tied a heck of a lot of matches last season. That’s good and all, as they aren’t losses, but Porter and company want to make a run at the Supporters Shield. One point is not going to do that, which means they can’t lean on that rust as an excuse.
It’s go time all-the-time with a Portland team in search of all the marbles… and it has to start this weekend with wobbly Chicago. Look for newly-extended Will Johnson to take the reins for a Timbers team aiming at win No. 1 in 2014.
Head to Soccerly for more details on Portland’s opening weekend lethargy and what needs to change.
LIMA, Peru (AP) Peru has extradited the country’s former soccer boss to the United States for his alleged involvement in a multibillion-dollar FIFA bribery scandal involving marketing and broadcasting rights.
Manuel Burga was sent to New York on a commercial flight before dawn on Friday.
He has been in jail since December 2015 as part of the investigation. Peru’s Supreme Court in June cleared the way for his extradition and President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski signed a decree authorizing the move a week ago.
Burga oversaw Peru’s football federation for more than a decade until 2014. He has denied any wrongdoing.
While the battle for MLS Cup 2016 has been dwindled down to two sides, the rest of the league continues to make roster transactions in preparation for next season.
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The San Jose Earthquakes announced on Friday that the club has exercised options on six players, including goalkeeper David Bingham, Fatai Alashe, Kip Colvey and Victor Bernardez.
Additionally, the Earthquakes have released nine players, including U.S. Men’s National Team defender Clarence Goodson, Marc Pelosi and Tommy Thompson, however, the latter two are reportedly in talks to return to the club in 2017.
NAPLES, Italy (AP) Napoli eased to a 3-0 win over Inter Milan in Serie A on Friday, with two goals in the opening five minutes.
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The home side got off to a lightning start as, following a wonderful team move, Jose Callejon headed back Marek Hamsik’s chipped pass for Piotr Zielinski to volley into the bottom left corner.
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Zielinski turned provider moments later as Hamsik beat the offside trap to run onto his pass and fire into the bottom right corner.
It was Hamsik’s 104th goal for Napoli, moving him level with Edinson Cavani in third in the clubs’ goalscoring charts. The Slovakia forward needs 11 more to equal Diego Maradona’s record.
Inter started the second half aggressively but hopes of getting back into the match were scuppered six minutes after the restart when Lorenzo Insigne netted his fourth goal in three league matches after visiting goalkeeper Samir Handanovic only flapped at a corner.
Napoli moved level on points with Atalanta, which visits league leader Juventus on Saturday, and fourth-placed Lazio, which hosts Roma in the capital derby on Sunday.
Inter, which beat Fiorentina 4-2 on Monday for its first win under coach Stefano Pioli, remained eighth ahead of the rest of the weekend’s fixtures.
On a day where Atlanta United added another young talent, the 2017 MLS expansion side could be preparing to make a major splash for a South American playmaker.
According to numerous Argentine media outlets, Atlanta is closing in on signing Paraguay international Miguel Almiron for an MLS-record fee of $13 million from Lanus at the end of 2016.
Almiron, 22, has scored three goals in 34 appearances for Lanus since joining the Argentine club in 2015. The young winger began his professional career back in 2013 with Cerro Porteno, where Almiron also played for the club’s youth academy.
On the international stage, Almiron has already earned seven caps for Paraguay after previously representing the nation’s Under-17 and U-20 national teams.