When Portland traded long-time Timber Mamadou “Futty” Danso earlier today, it looked like a means, not an ends. While the Gambian central defender has struggled this year, he’s was also the team’s longest tenured player. Moving him to Montréal for a second round draft pick wouldn’t have been done without an eye toward a much bigger picture.
If ESPN’s Taylor Twellman’s to be believed (and he almost always is), that biggest picture means landing a high-profile defender from England. Crippled by defensive mistakes all year, Portland has apparently been in touch with former England international Joleon Lescott, who’s been extended an offer that would make him the highest paid defender in Major League Soccer.
Filling a desperate need with a skill set that fits well within Portland’s scheme, Lescott may be the perfect fit for Portland. At the money being offered, it’s be unreasonable to expect a better defender to come to Major League Soccer. Though the team brought in Argentine Norberto Paparatto this offseason, Lescott would be the ideal way to confess the mistake (and give Paparatto more time) while addressing what’s become a debilitating problem.
The big, obvious question: Why would Lescott do it? The answer obviously depends on his other offers, but one factor that should never be underestimated when considering MLS transfers: Life in the United States can be very enticing. It’s a major reason why so many South American players end up in the U.S.. Even for Europeans, working in the U.S. can look like the opportunity of a lifetime, giving them an opportunity to establish residency and give their families a whole new set of options.
Is Lescott one of those players? Perhaps, but at 31 and coming off eight starts in the Premier League, he may be able to justify the move, regardless. Should he do so, it will spell bad news for Colorado, San Jose, and the other teams that may end up fighting with Portland for the West’s last playoff spots.
Liverpool vs. Chelsea is never a friendly encounter.
That was proved correct on Wednesday as Chelsea beat Liverpool 1-0 at the Pasadena Rose Bowl in their opening 2016 International Champions Cup clash.
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The lone goal of a feisty match came in the first half as Gary Cahill headed home Cesc Fabregas’ corner, but the latter was sent off in the second half for an awful lunging tackle on Ragnar Klavan.
There were six yellow cards — five to Liverpool players — dished out in the game in front of 53,117 in California.
Fabregas apologized to Liverpool after the game for his 70th minute tackle (see video below) according to Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp,
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Both Klopp and Antonio Conte acknowledged this game was more combative than most friendlies and given the recent history between the two clubs you can understand why.
Chelsea’s new manager was pleased with the reaction of his side when they went down to 10-men but urged his team to play more
“I saw a lot of positive things about the defensive situation but we must improve when we have the ball because I love to play the ball, but we are improving,” Conte said.
Liverpool’s biggest concern was an injury to Marko Grujic who clashed heads with Bertrand Traore and was taken to hospital.
“The biggest problem for me in this moment is that Marko Grujic is in hospital, because he can’t remember anything. That’s not too cool,” Klopp told the media. “Hopefully it’s not too serious. Injuries after games like this in pre-season is the biggest problem obviously.”
Liverpool now head to Santa Clara, Calif. to play against AC Milan on Saturday before flying to St. Louis and playing AS Roma on Aug. 1 on their way back to England. Chelsea will fly to Michigan as they take on Real Madrid at “The Big House” on Saturday.
Premier League powers Chelsea and Liverpool tangle Wednesday in the Rose Bowl as both clubs prepare for their first full seasons under two coaches.
[ FOLLOW: Liverpool‘s Twitter | Chelsea ]
Sadio Mane, Loris Karius and Marko Grujic start for Liverpool, while Chelsea has a lot of familiar names in the fold for the International Champions Cup match.
Liverpool: Karius, Randall, Lovren, Klavan, Moreno, Stewart, Ejaria, Grujic, Mane, Coutinho, Firmino.
Chelsea: Begovic; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry, Aina; Fabregas, Matic; Willian, Traore, Loftus-Cheek, Moses. Subs:
Get into space and good things will happen.
That’s how Miguel Borja scored the goal that gave Atletico Nacional an edge that would stand up in the Copa Libertadores final on Wednesday in Medellin.
Borja’s goal gave Atletico Nacional a 1-0 win over Independiente del Valle in Wednesday’s second leg after a 1-1 first leg in Quito.
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Colombia’s Los Verdolagas hadn’t won a Copa Libertadores title since 1989, and the match was its first final since 1995. It was Ecuadorian side Independiente del Valle’s first final.
Atletico Nacional’s Orlando Berrio traded goals with Independiente’s Arturo Mina in the first leg.
Newcastle United purchased Moussa Sissoko and Ayoze Perez from Toulose and Tenerife for combined fees of approximately $4 million.
They stand to make a whole lot more if Wednesday’s rumors are true.
Multiple reports say Real Madrid is set to bid $40 million to pry French international Sissoko from St. James Park, while Barcelona is ready to spend about $20 million to get Ayoze Perez as the fourth fiddle to its MSN attacking trio.
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Perez, 22, has scored 13 goals in two Premier League seasons with the Magpies after arriving from Segunda Division side Tenerfie in 2014, and was linked to Spurs amongst other locales.
But Barca has had trouble finding a player interested in being its fourth striker. Pedro left for Chelsea before last season, and players like Robin Van Persie and Luciano Vietto were tipped to join Barca earlier this summer.
Sissoko, meanwhile, was a feast or famine player at Newcastle this season but brought his A-game under the bright lights of EURO 2016 this summer. Real is reported to be giving up on Paul Pogba to focus on his French midfield mate.
As for Newcastle, Rafa Benitez probably planned on losing Sisssoko but Perez had worked well in preseason with new signing Dwight Gayle and was expected to be a factor this year. It could send Rafa back to the transfer mill, and he’d sure have some profit to spend.