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ProSoccerTalk’s MLS Team of the Week – Week 5

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Forwards

Clint Dempsey, Seattle Sounders – It wasn’t just that Dempsey scored a hat trick on Saturday. Those goals came in a match against Seattle’s arch rivals, with two equalizers and a winner from the spot allowing the Sounders to claim a result in Portland. Now tied for the league lead in goals (four), Dempsey was awarded with the league’s Player of the Week honor.

Darren Mattocks, Vancouver Whitecaps – For weeks the young Jamaican has been doing everything but score, but after beating Drew Moor to a second half pass from Kenny Miller, Mattocks finally broke through, hits coveted first goal of the season complementing another strong all-around performance.

We may be wrong about: Robbie Keane, LA Galaxy

Midfielders

Diego Chara, Portland Timbers – Our Week 5 Player of the WeekChara doubled his career MLS goal tally with two long distance offerings against Seattle. The Portland destroyer also completed 94 percent of his passes and played a crucial part in another Timbers goal.

(MORE: Explaining Player of the Week – Chara over Dempsey)

Michael Bradley, Toronto FC – In addition to an 11th minute goal that proved Saturday’s game winner, Bradley was his typical influential self in the middle of the park, combining the disruptive effect of an elite destroyer with the surging runs that were also on display mid-week against Mexico. Though he only went 73 minutes, he did enough to earn a place in this XI.

Felipe, Montréal Impact – The Red Bulls didn’t offer much resistance, but with a goal and an assist, Montréal’s creator took advantage of what he was given, orchestrating Andrés Romero’s opener before running onto Justin Mapp’s second half cross for the equalizer.

Jose Mari, Colorado Rapids – The Rapids’ defensive midfielder was having a strong day before Matías Laba was sent off. Afterward, his two bombs from beyond the penalty area snatched the game from Vancouver, with this bender providing a surprise awakening for the previously unbeaten Whitecaps:

We could be wrong about: Baggio Husidic, LA Galaxy; Stefan Ishizaki, LA Galaxy; Justin Mapp, Montréal Impact, Je-Vaughn Watson, FC Dallas, Diego Valeri, Portland Timbers

Defenders

Justin Morrow, Toronto FC – Amid a strong set of candidates at left back, Morrow gets the nod, with a late assist on Issey Nakajima-Farran’s first MLS goal giving the former San Jose Earthquake a place on the scoresheet that complements a strong performance on the left.

Nat Borchers, Real Salt Lake – It’s almost impossible to separate his performance from partner Chris Schuler’s, but his 27th minute clearance and 63rd minute save in front of goal earned the veteran our nod. We also saw him has slightly less culpable on an 11th minute chance on a long ball from Matt Besler to Dom Dwyer, but that may have been more of the team effort.

Bradley Orr, Toronto FC – For much of our last viewing of Toronto’s visit to Columbus, this spot was going to be Schuler’s. If anything, Orr’s partner, rookie Nick Hagglund, looked like he was giving the better performance. Starting in the 61st minute, however, Orr made five good defensive reads or clearances in the span of six minutes, a stretch that included a goal mouth clearance that may have saved a goal. A late, ill-advised foul at the edge of the penalty area nearly cost him this spot, but ultimately, we gave the Blackburn loanee the nod.

Seth Sinovic, Sporting Kansas City – I’m bending my rules by picking two left backs, because I can’t resist including Sinovic, who was just edged for the spot on the left. The gap between Sinovic’s performance and that of the weekend’s best right back was enough to convince me to reconsider, even though I like to keep these teams as representative as possible.

We may be wrong about: Chris Schuler, Real Salt Lake; Nick Hagglund, Toronto FC; Chance Myers, Sporting Kansas City; Dan Gargan, LA Galaxy

Goalkeeper

Jeff Attinella, Real Salt Lake – Perhaps the easiest choice on the board, Attinella made nine saves Saturday in Kansas City, with good reads in the 42nd and 63rd minutes allowing his performance to go beyond mere numbers. His was one of three Team of the Week performances RSL needed to survive Sporting Park.

We may be wrong about: Clint Irwin, Colorado Rapids

Transfer rumor roundup: Welsh EURO stars to Everton, Sevilla, Atletico Madrid

LYON, FRANCE - JULY 05:  (Forward to back) Ashley Williams, James Collins, Jonathan Williams, Gareth Bale and Hal Robson-Kanu of Wales visit the Stade de Lyon, ahead of tomorrow's UEFA Euro Champs 2016 semi-final between Portugal and Wales, on July 5, 2016 in Lyon, France.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
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While much of the focus is on “will he/won’t he” when it comes to superstars like Riyad Mahrez and Paul Pogba, there are still plenty of fresh rumors going around the web this morning.

One of those involves a bit of a trend inspired by Juventus’ activity in the wake of Pogba rumors.

In the past, we’ve seen an almost dominant philosophy of investing in young players with the money gained from transfer sales.

[ MORE: Leicester lands Poland star ]

But Juventus prepared for a potential Pogba move by grabbing a fully-developed player who currently is an improvement on the Frenchman, nabbing Roma ace Miralem Pjanic.

Now Everton may be set to do the same thing. John Stones is by no means a finished product, and the Toffees may be forced into selling him to Manchester City.

Ashley Williams, at least right now, is a stronger player than Stones. The veteran Welsh defender leads both Wales and Swansea City, and would likely be a short-term step-up for Ronald Koeman‘s crew.

Wales Online says it would take $13 million to make the move happen, and with $50m coming in from Stones, that’s an easy decision (Though why would Swans sell? And Williams did support Liverpool as a kid).


Sky Sports says Paris Saint-Germain would love to see what Jese Rodriguez could do in a more demanding role. The Real Madrid man, 23, is jammed behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema at the Bernabeu.

From Sky:

“It’s a possibility, as are other opportunities in the transfer window,” Emery said during PSG’s tour of the US.

“I know Jese well, the club knows Jese well, he is a good player.”


Hal Robson-Kanu let his contract run out at Reading in the run-up to EURO 2016, when he scored what could be deemed the goal of the tournament.

That’s looking like a wise decision for the 27-year-old Welshman, who has become a target of Atletico Madrid and Sevilla in moves that would take him from England’s second tier to the UEFA Champions League.

Both sides are now for their signings being quite calculated, and Robson-Kanu carries risk; He hasn’t scored more than five goals in a season since 2012-13’s Premier League campaign with Reading.

“Leicester wanted me the most”: Ranieri to land Polish prize Kapustka

NICE, FRANCE - JUNE 12: Conor McLaughlin of Northern Ireland is tackled by Bartosz Kapustka of Poland during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group C match between Poland and Northern Ireland at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 12, 2016 in Nice, France.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
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Bartosz Kapustka is headed to Leicester City, barring something wildly wrong with his medical.

The price for Kapustka, 19, is said to be $10 million. He made his debut for Cracovia at age 16, and has piled up 65 appearances with eight goals and 12 assists for his club.

[ RANIERI: Mahrez will stay at LCFC ]

A left winger who is capable of manning a central midfield spot and also the right side, Kapustka has 11 caps for Poland. He laid out his plans in this post from the Leicester Mercury:

“Yes, of all the offers tabled, Leicester wanted me the most,” Kapustka said. “Ranieri’s interest was a big factor for me.

“He was asking about me, he wanted me to join the team. This convinced me, but there were many factors.

“I’m not going there only because of the name of the club, or because they won the Premier League. I’m optimistic and think I have a real chance of playing time.”

Seems like a good signing for both now and the future for Leicester, as the teenager has already had impactful performances for his club and national team.

Pogba’s agent pumps brakes hard on imminent Manchester United move

PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 10: Paul Pogba of France wins the ball from Joao Mario of Portugal during the UEFA EURO 2016 Final match between Portugal and France at Stade de France on July 10, 2016 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images
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Super agent Mino Raiola has injected a ray of light into the hopes of both Juventus and Real Madrid fans when it comes to Paul Pogba.

The terrific midfielder has been widely reported as an imminent arrival at Manchester United, but Raiola has taken to Twitter to blast journalists who’ve reported the move and medical as done.

[ RANIERI: Mahrez will stay at LCFC ]

Pogba was photographed in Los Angeles amid claims he was undergoing a physical at United. Multiple reports have said he passed the medical and that Juventus has agreed to sell Pogba to United for a world record fee.

Raiola says different, though taken with the grain of salt that he’s set to make as much as $30 million on the deal and his job is to squeeze every possibly penny from suitors.

Ranieri says “intelligent man” Mahrez will stay at Leicester City

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 07:  Claudio Ranieri Manager of Leicester City instructs Riyad Mahrez during the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and Everton at The King Power Stadium on May 7, 2016 in Leicester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
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Claudio Ranieri seems to be genuine and honest in his evaluations, as we’ve seen in his dealings with Jamie Vardy and N'Golo Kante amongst others.

And the manager is making no bones about what he thinks is best for another Leicester City star in Riyad Mahrez.

[ MORE: Gameiro joins new club ]

Ranieri says the Algerian will face far more pressure at a new club then he will face still competing in the UEFA Champions League with the Foxes.

In other words, the 25-year-old should stick around. From Sky Sports:

“I speak often with him and say stay with us, it’s much better for your future, I think he is an intelligent man and he will stay,” Ranieri told Sky Sports News HQ.

“We support him very well, this is important, when you change teams maybe you don’t find team-mates who help you at the same level.

“He improves more if he stays with us for another year, maybe next year he can think about another solution. If he goes for a lot of money, everybody will be expecting something special. He can do something special, but with us.”

We tend to agree. Whereas N’Golo Kante was prepared to use Leicester as a stepping stone — and it seems Ranieri knew it — Mahrez has been with the Foxes since 2014 and seen his stature skyrocket.

Let’s see what happens, Riyad. Cool?