Michu to Napoli: Considering Swansea’s fortunes after the Spaniard’s departure

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Spanish attacker Michu’s two-year stay in Wales appears to be over, though with yesterday’s move to Napoli announced as a season-long loan, there’s still a chance the 28-year-old could return to Swansea City. But with an option to buy in the partenopei’s hangs, Swans no longer control whether their former focal point has played his last match for the club. After completing his physical Thursday in Naples, Michu is now Rafa Benítez’s charge.

We discussed the fit when rumors began circulating last month, but particularly after Swansea’s acquisition of Bafetimbi Gomis, a move seemed inevitable. With Napoli at times relying Goran Pandev as Gonzalo Higuaín’s understudy, the team had a need for depth at striker. That Michu can also fill in underneath Higuaín in Benítez’s set up makes him an ideal acquisition.

For Swans, a summer of rumors that Wilfried Bony may move has almost been weathered. Now, with the acquisition of Gomis to serve as a more traditional target, the team’s attack has come into focus. After seeing Michu’s injuries limiting him to 17 appearances and two goals, Swansea could see a boost with Gomis’s arrival, even if he may not offer the same quality as the Spaniard.

Last season in Ligue 1, Gomis averaged 0.51 goals for 90 minutes (14 goals, overall), a rate that will likely decrease with Swansea. Given how the last six goalscorers to jump from France to England have performed, expecting somewhere in the nature of half as many goals seems reasonable:

Player Year Team G/90 mins Year Team G/90 mins
Sagbo, Yannick 2012-13 Evian 0.23 2013-14 Hull City 0.12
Giroud, Olivier 2011-12 Montpellier 0.59 2012-13 Arsenal 0.43
Hazard, Eden 2011-12 Lille 0.56 2012-13 Chelsea 0.31
Maiga, Modibo 2011-12 Sochaux 0.5 2012-13 West Ham 0.44
Gervinho 2010-11 Lille 0.47 2011-12 Arsenal 0.21
Park, Chu Young 2010-11 Monaco 0.38 2011-12 Arsenal 0.00

Don’t draw anything scientific from that. Instead, just take that under consideration when evaluating the tradeoff. Whereas Swansea is losing a player who scored .14 goals per 90 minutes last year, the club’s bringing in somebody who could double that production. If Gomis stays healthy, that may mean six to eight more goals for Swans.

That does not sound like much, but it would take the team’s goal difference from even to something closer to Tottenham’s (+4) or Southampton’s (+8). Depending on luck and how those goals are distributed, it could also mean the difference between battling relegation and competing for a spot in the league’s top half.

MLS Snapshot: Seattle Sounders 1-1 Los Angeles Galaxy

Robbie Keane
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The game in 100 words (or less): The Los Angeles Galaxy became the second team in the Western Conference to clinch a berth in the playoffs following a 1-1 draw against the Seattle Sounders. A terrible mistake from Seattle defender Zach Scott led to an easy goal for Robbie Keane, and it looked like that would be the winner until deep into stoppage time. In the 93rd minute, Chad Barrett got his knee on a corner kick to save a draw for Seattle, although the point was enough for LA. The Galaxy join FC Dallas as the two Western Conference teams headed to the postseason.

[ RELATED: Who will take over as Liverpool manager? ]

Three moments that mattered

36′ — Robbie Keane capitalizes on Seattle’s mistake — Zach Scott misplayed a ball across the Sounders’ back line, as Robbie Keane intercepted the pass and finished one of the easiest goals he’s going to score. A true striker’s goal, Keane doesn’t miss ones like this.

64′ — Steven Gerrard denied by the woodwork — Los Angeles nearly made it 2-0 right after the hour mark, but Steven Gerrard was just inches off. Gerrard rose up to meet a corner kick from Juninho, but his header took a deflection and hit the crossbar before being cleared out of the box by Seattle.

90’+3′ — Chad Barrett finds a late, late equalizer — Just when it looked like LA was going to leave Seattle with a win, Chad Barrett stole a point for the Sounders. Marco Pappa whipped in a corner kick to the near post, which was flicked on by Brad Evans. Barrett surged into the box and got a knee on the ball as the match ended in a draw.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Steven Gerrard

Goalscorers: Keane (36′), Barrett (90’+3′)

MLS Snapshot: Colorado Rapids 1-2 Real Salt Lake

SANDY UT - MARCH 14: Olmes Garcia #13 of Real Salt Lake celebrates his goal during their game against the Philadelphia Union at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 14, 2015 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
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The game in 100 words (or less): Real Salt Lake stays alive in the hunt for a playoff berth in the Western Conference with a crucial 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids. After falling behind early, RSL scored twice before halftime and held onto the lead for the rest of the match, moving within three points of the final playoff spot in the West. Real Salt Lake has three matches remaining, including a massive clash against the Portland Timbers, which will pretty much decide their season. For Colorado, it’s another year without playoff soccer.

[ MORE: FC Dallas clinches playoff berth ]

Three moments that mattered

16′ — Doyle heads Colorado into the lead — The former Premier League man gave the home side an early lead, thanks to a powerful header from quite a bit out. Sean St. Ledger played in a cross, where Doyle snapped a header into the top corner past Nick Rimando.

33′ — Joao Plata bends in the free kick — Trailing 1-0, Joao Plata drew RSL level with a brilliant free kick. Plata’s shot dipped over the wall and under the crossbar, as Clint Irwin stood helpless in goal for Colorado.

43′ — Mulholland fires home a volley to put RSL ahead — Luke Mulholland scored his first goal of the season, and it was a beauty. A corner kick popped out to the midfielder at the top of the box, as he rifled a shot off the bounce and into the side netting.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Luke Mulholland

Goalscorers: Doyle (16′), Plata (33′), Mulholland (43′)