source:@FrancoPanizo

Premier League on tour, Saturday roundup: Arsenal only club to fall

4 Comments

One of the day’s most anticipated games saw Arsenal kept off the scoresheet, but with Thierry Henry facing his former team (and Gedion Zelalem starting for the Gunners), the final score was always going to be secondary in Harrison, N.J. Starting with a tribute to the team’s biggest star (right) and ending with victory for the home side, Arsenal’s visit to Red Bull Arena was the Premier League’s only Saturday loss on U.S. soil.

Aston Villa, Tottenham, and Manchester United were also in action on Saturday. Here’s how their friendlies, as well as Arsenal’s, turned out:

New York Red Bulls 1-0 Arsenal

There’s just something about the Red Bulls that Arsenal can’t figure out. New York won the Emirates Club in North London three years ago, and today, in the face of the Gunners’ chance at redemption, the Supporters’ Shield winners defended a 32nd minute goal from Bradley Wright-Phillips, remaining undefeated (albeit in two, meaningless games) against Henry’s former club.

Houston Dynamo 0-1 Aston Villa

An even game with few chances tilted the visitors’ way in the 41st minute, with Joe Bennett’s header from an Andreas Weimann cross beating Tyler Deric for the game’s only goal. (For Villa and Dynamo fans that missed it, the entire match can be seen on YouTube.)

Chicago Fire 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur

From CSNChicago.com:

Harry Kane’s fifth minute goal put Barclays Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur ahead for good in a 2-0 friendly victory over the Chicago Fire played in front of 17,156 at Toyota Park Saturday night.

Kane — who threw out the first pitch at Wrigley Field prior to Thursday’s Cubs-Padres game — capitalized when Fire center back Jeff Larentowicz failed to control a ball just outside the penalty area, turning over possession to Spurs midfielder Lewis Holtby. Holtby deftly flicked the ball over to Kane, who easily beat Sean Johnson to the near post for the goal.

Aaron Lennon added a second six minutes from time.

Manchester United 3-2 Roma

Opening Champions Cup play, the Red Devils got two goals from Wayne Rooney, with their star forward’s “unbelievable” assist (according to Louis van Gaal) setting up another before halftime. A goal from near the center line via Miralem Pjanic saw Roma break through in the second, with Francesco Totti’s late penalty conversation salvaging a respectable score.

[ MORE: Despite win,  Van Gaal disappointed with performance ]

Ex-Guatemalan soccer chief pleads guilty in FIFA bribe case

PRATO, ITALY - APRIL 13: General view during the FIFA Futsal playoff match between Italy and Hungary on April 13, 2016 in Prato, Italy.  (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images
1 Comment

NEW YORK (AP) A former Guatemalan soccer federation president has pleaded guilty in New York to charges related to a sprawling corruption investigation of world soccer.

[ MORE: Christian Vieri ready for return, pursuing Chinese Super League ]

Brayan Jimenez pleaded guilty Friday to federal racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy charges, each carrying up to 20 years in prison. It’s unclear when he’ll be sentenced.

The 62-year-old Jimenez is among 40 people from around the world charged in a FIFA bribery scandal over lucrative broadcasting rights.

Prosecutors say Jimenez accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from a Florida-based sports marketing company. They say in exchange for the money Jimenez awarded the company media marketing rights to the Guatemalan soccer team’s World Cup qualifying matches in 2018 and 2022.

Jimenez’s attorneys haven’t returned a message seeking comment on his guilty plea.

D.C. United acquires Igboananike from Fire in trade

BRIDGEVIEW, IL - MARCH 06:  Andrea Pirlo #21 of the New York City FC looks to pass against Kennedy Igboananike #77 of the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on March 6, 2016 in Bridgeview, Illinois. The New York City FC defeated the Fire 4-3.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Leave a comment

With the playoffs still very much in sight, D.C. United is making another attempt to boost its struggling attack.

[ MORE: NYCFC, Rapids meet in Bronx on Saturday ]

After recently trading for New York City FC forward Patrick Mullins and New York Red Bulls midfielder Lloyd Sam, D.C. has completed a trade for Chicago Fire attacker Kennedy Igboananike in exchange for target allocation money and a third-round draft selection in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft.

In over a season-and-a-half in MLS with the Fire, Igboananike notched 11 goals and four assists in 49 matches. The Nigerian forward is a Designated Player, and is due to make over $900,000, according to the MLS Players’ Union website.

[ MORE: Christian Vieri trying to make comeback in Chinese Super League ]

D.C United is currently eighth in the Eastern Conference standings, sitting on 20 points through 21 matches. The team is four points behind the New England Revolution for the final playoff position.

Report: Atletico set to offer $52 million for Chelsea’s Costa

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09:  Diego Costa of Chelsea shoots past Thiago Silva of PSG to score a gol to level the scores at 1-1 during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second leg match between Chelsea and Paris Saint Germain at Stamford Bridge on March 9, 2016 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Already with one of the world’s most dangerous attacks, Atletico Madrid is prepared to add another dimension into the mix.

[ MORE: Man City makes final bid for defender John Stones ]

Daily Mail is reporting that the Spanish side is prepared to offer Chelsea over $52 million for striker Diego Costa, who joined the team from Atletico back in 2014.

While the Blues have maintained their position that Costa isn’t for sale, Atletico looks to boost its already strong offense with the 27-year-old Spaniard. Diego Simeone’s group already features talented attacking duo Antoine Griezmann and Fernando Torres.

During his previous stint in La Liga, Costa netted 56 goals across all competitions in two seasons with the Rojiblancos.

[ MORE: Christian Vieri trying to make comeback in Chinese Super League ]

Chelsea is reportedly pursuing former striker Romelu Lukaku after signing Belgian Michy Batshuayi this summer. Antonio Conte’s side also features young forward Bertrand Traore, who has made a strong impression during the preseason.

Report: Manchester City makes final bid for John Stones

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 16:  Diego Costa of Chelsea and John Stones of Everton compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Everton at Stamford Bridge on January 16, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
2 Comments

Take it or leave it.

Manchester City has made a final push for Everton defender John Stones, and has set its last offer at $52 million. Last month, the Citizens made the same exact bid for the 22-year-old, which was rejected by Everton.

[ MORE: Italian legend Christian Vieri looks to join Chinese Super League ]

City is said to be looking to avoid overpaying for Stones, after compensating Porto over $55 million for centerback Eliaquim Mangala two years ago.

While Stones has gone on record saying that he wants to play for manager Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium, it remains to be seen if Everton will part ways with its prized defender.