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.
High-flying left back Benjamin Mendy‘s Manchester City takeoff has been delayed by a thigh injury.
Pep Guardiola revealed Thursday that Mendy is doubtful for City’s Aug. 12 Premier League opener at Brighton and Hove Albion despite passing a medical to push through a $68 million move from Monaco.
Saying Mendy is “a little bit injured,” Guardiola said to expect an absence of two to three weeks.
[ MORE: LAFC hires Bob Bradley ]
The depth chart behind Mendy is incomplete, though City has added two right backs this offseason in Kyle Walker and Danilo.
The latter would be the front-runner to start in Mendy’s place, as he did in a 3-5-2 as Man City beat Real Madrid 4-1 on Wednesday.
Man City follows its opener at Brighton with a visit from Everton and a trip to Bournemouth.
Hard-nosed midfielder Rajda Nainggolan has been linked to Manchester United and Chelsea for some time, but Thursday linked up long-term with his present club.
Nainggolan, 29, signed a new deal with AS Roma through the 2020-21 season, putting the Belgian box-to-box mid at the heart of i Lupi‘s plans to chase down Juventus.
[ MORE: Chatting with De Rossi ]
Nainggolan has been in the last two Serie A Best XIs.
The 29-times capped Belgian has six goals for his national team, and has 255 Serie A appearances between Cagliari and Roma. Nainggolan has 31 goals and 18 assists in those matches, scooping 62 yellows and two send-offs but never being handed straight red.
While it’s a perceived blow for his Premier League suitors, it’s a welcome retention for Roma. He’s arguably the reason Roma was ready to part with Michael Bradley in 2014, and you can see why: He plays right up to the line but knows right where it lies.
ST. VEIT, Austria (AP) Local authorities in southern Austria have called off Sunday’s friendly match between Udinese and Hannover as the estimated number of spectators exceeds the capacity of the stadium.
The city of St. Veit says about 4,000 fans, including 280 potential football hooligans, were expected for the game at the ground of local amateur club FC Alpe Adria, which has a capacity of 2,430.
St. Veit mayor Gerhard Mock says “it’s a shame … but security comes first.”
It’s not immediately clear whether the match between the Italian and German top-flight teams can be moved to a larger venue. Both Udinese and Hannover are having their preseason training camps in the province of Carinthia.
Wayne Rooney will play his first competitive game for Everton in 13 years.
[ LIVE: Europa League scores ]
That storyline will dominate Everton’s return to Europe as they kick off their 2017-18 UEFA Europa League campaign in front of a packed house at Goodison Park on Thursday.
The Toffees welcome Slovakian side MFK Ruzomberok for the first leg of the third qualifying round as they aim to make it back to the group stage for the first time since 2014-15.
Click on the link above to follow not only Everton’s game but all of the Europa League qualifiers going on across Europe this afternoon with the likes of AC Milan, Fenerbache, PSV, Marseille and Athletic Bilbao all in action.
If Ronald Koeman‘s side successfully navigate their way past Ruzomberok then they will be in the play-off round which is the final hurdle before the group stage.