Sporting sale: Kansas City agrees to sell Rosell, send him to Portugal

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What was rumored last month has come to fruition. Oriol Rosell, two-plus years after moving to Major League Soccer from Barcelona, has been sold to Sporting Club of Portugal. Sporting Kansas City announced the move via the club’s website on Tuesday.

The 21-year-old moves after a 43-game career with Kansas City, including 31 appearances as part of last year’s title team. Playing a defensive role in Sporting’s three-man midfield, Rosell accumulated two goals and two assists over that span, with the 66 fouls he committed during the 2013 regular season ranking fourth in Major League Soccer.

The sale means Rosell is the third Sporting starter to make the jump to Europe in the last 18 months. At the end of the 2012 season, Honduran international Roger Espinoza left for England, joining Wigan Athletic. Forward Kei Kimara made a similar move last summer when he moved to Middlesbrough. Now, ending his apprenticeship in Major League Soccer, Rosell has followed suit, with the Spaniard returning to Iberia.

From Sporting KC’s web site:

“We wish Uri the best of luck in pursuing this new opportunity,” said Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman. “The perception from the outside might be that the timing is not great, but from the inside we believe that the timing is perfect. It opens the door for Uri and for us.”

That last sentence hints that Sporting, who could eventually slide Kenyan Lawrence Olum into Rosell’s spot, plans to make another move. Come July 9, the transfer window will be reopened, and with two-thirds of the (undisclosed) money from the Rosell sale at their allocation’s disposal, Sporting can go out an address its holes.

Defensive midfield may be the most obvious of those issues, but right back Chance Myers just recently went down. Erik Kronberg’s off to a slow start as the team’s new number one. Sal Zizzo has been decent since arriving from Portland, but the team is increasingly dependent on Dom Dwyer for goals. Depending on how Peter Vermes sees these positions, Kansas City could have anything from temporary concerns to outright holes.

With an offer on the table and a player whose departure was inevitable, Sporting may have decided this was the right moment to make a move. Perhaps that moment isn’t as perfect as Heinemann’s spinning, but it still provides some early certainty for a team working to defend a title.

MLS SuperDraft 2018 Live Tracker

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For a few dozen players, hearing their name called up to the big stage will validate all the hard work and sacrifices they’ve made since they were children.

Starting at 11:00 a.m. when Los Angeles FC is on the clock at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, the 2018 MLS SuperDraft will be underway. Many of the top college prospects will soon find out whether they’ll be headed to the Pacific Northwest, New England, the Southeast, Southern California or anywhere in between.

[MORE: 2018 MLS Mock Draft]

This year’s draft class is loaded with attacking talent, from Generation Adidas trio Ema Twumasi (Wake Forest), Mason Toye (Indiana) and Francis Atuahene (Michigan) to Twumasi’s college teammate Jon Bakero.

But potential No. 1 overall pick is a three-time national champion, Thomas Hilliard-Arce, who could become the anchor of a backline for a decade.

Follow along below as we update the picks live as we hear them:

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Bayern signs Germany midfielder Goretzka from rival Schalke

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MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich signed Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka on Friday on a free transfer from Bundesliga rival Schalke effective from next season.

Bayern said the 22-year-old Goretzka signed a four-year deal from July 1 through June 2022.

Schalke, which Goretzka joined in 2013 from hometown club Bochum, said the player informed the club this week of his wish to join Bayern when his contract expired.

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“We think we did everything in the last months to convince Leon to stay with us,” Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel said. “In the end, it wasn’t enough.”

Schalke had long been engaged in trying to get Goretzka to extend his contract, but was aware of reported interest from Bayern, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Liverpool.

“We’re very happy that Leon Goretzka, a German international with big potential, has decided in favor of Bayern despite big-name international competitors. This way it’s ensured that Leon Goretzka remains in the Bundesliga,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.

Goretzka scored 19 goals and set up 13 more in 130 appearances for Schalke.

The club had previously expressed its displeasure with Bayern making public statements about its player after Goretzka was praised by sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic and coach Jupp Heynckes.

Heidel said “we don’t need to hear every day from the Munich people how good our player is.”

Goretzka has six goals in 12 games for Germany.

Pele hospitalized overnight in Brazil

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The most famous soccer player in the world had a scare last night as he was hospitalized in Brazil for “severe exhaustion.”

Pele, 77, was set to travel to London this weekend to be honored by the Football Writers Association, though it looks like that trip has now been postponed.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Pele collapsed and was taken to a hospital in Brazil where he has undergone a series of tests which appear to point to severe exhaustion,” a FWA statement said. “He remains on fluids while doctors monitor his recovery.

“Thankfully, there is no suggestion of anything more serious than exhaustion.”

Here’s to hoping Pele makes a full recovery.

[MORE: USMNT centerback heads to Championship club]

USMNT centerback Carter-Vickers heads to Ipswich Town on loan

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Cameron Carter-Vickers has a new club to call home for the next five months or so after a rough first half of the season.

Tottenham announced Friday morning that it had loaned the U.S. Men’s National Team centerback to Championship club Ipswich Town for the rest of the season. Carter-Vickers spent the first five months of the season at fellow Championship side Sheffield United, starting 17 times though he struggled recently as Sheffield won just one game he played in during the month of December, losing three and drawing one.

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Carter-Vickers was then recalled earlier this week and now has a new home with a mid-table Championship club, with a new chance to impress. Hopefully Carter-Vickers can recover his form and continue to grow, potentially latching on to another Premier League side next year or breaking into the Tottenham first team.

There’s another interesting American tie-in to this. Carter-Vickers appears to be a short-term replacement for Ipswich Town’s Tommy Smith, who the club states is headed to join the Colorado Rapids ahead of the 2018 MLS season.