Tim Howard

Source: Tim Howard “highly likely” for Colorado Rapids, MLS move in May


A few days ago the rumor mill was suggesting that Everton and USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard could be heading back to Major League Soccer with the Colorado Rapids.

The rumor had died down for a few days but just got very interesting as a source has told ProSoccerTalk that Howard has held “serious talks” with Colorado and after 10 years at Goodison Park he looks highly likely to sign for the Rapids and supposedly wants a return to the U.S.

If all goes to plan in negotiations between Everton and MLS then Howard could sign this month but would only move to Colorado in May following the conclusion of the 2015-16 Premier League season.

[ MORE: LVG’s time at United up? ]

Veteran U.S. international Howard, 36, has recently put in a string of fine displays for the Toffees but throughout this campaign he has also been criticized by some sections of the Everton support, especially following a 2-1 defeat at Arsenal earlier in the season. An up and down season for Howard has also seen him criticized for giving away a penalty kick in the 2-1 home defeat to Swansea on Sunday, plus his role in Diego Costa‘s goal in Everton’s 3-3 draw at Chelsea last weekend.

[ MORE: Three things we learned

Further reinforcing the notion that Howard could be on the brink of a surprising potential move back to MLS — especially to a Rapids franchise who finished rock bottom of the Western Conference in 2015 — last Monday the Rapids announced they had traded starting goalkeeper Clint Irwin to Toronto FC for targeted allocation money, their highest natural third round selection in this year’s MLS SuperDraft and a conditional first round selection in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. Plus Colorado currently holds the number one allocation ranking in MLS after making a trade with the Chicago Fire for that position less than two weeks ago.

That means any current U.S. national team player looking to sign with the league will be offered to them first and Colorado’s VP of soccer operations, Paul Bravo, has been quoted as saying that the move up to No. 1 in the allocation order is “the most significant deal we’ve done in this club’s history.” That says it all

[ MORE: Howard puts in superb display vs. Man City ] 

Howard’s boss at Everton, Roberto Martinez, was asked by the media following Sunday’s defeat to Swansea if the Rapids had been in contact with Everton: “At the moment there is nothing” was his response. Now, it seems like things are moving forward.

Losing their long-time starting goalkeeper would not be ideal for the Toffees but given Howard’s commitment to the Merseyside outfit for over a decade, you get the sense that Everton wouldn’t stand in his way and would be unlikely to demand too high of a transfer fee from MLS to complicate negotiations.

In a 0-0 draw at Manchester City on Jan. 13, Howard pulled off probably his best performance since his World Cups heroics for the U.S. against Belgium in the last 16 of the 2014 tournament, and he still has plenty to offer at the top level. With his young family based Stateside, Howard took a self-imposed sabbatical from the USMNT from Sept. 2014 until Sept. 2015 and even though he has a contract at Everton until the summer of 2018, getting to spend extra time with his kids and returning to the U.S. after 13 years abroad will play a huge factor in his potential move.

With Joel Robles pushing him all the way for a starting spot at Goodison Park, is this the right time for Howard to return to MLS and play out the remaining years of his career? We shall see…

Howard, a New Jersey native, made his name in MLS for the MetroStars from 1999-2003 but was transferred to Manchester United where he spent three years before signing for Everton permanently in 2007 after a successful loan spell during the 2006-07 campaign.

It seems as though one of the greatest goalkeepers the U.S. has ever produced is closer than ever to returning home.

UPDATE: Jeff Carlisle of ESPN is reporting that there would likely be no transfer fee paid by MLS to Everton for Howard and he would become the highest paid goalkeeper in the league, earning between $2-3 million per season. 

Spain coach Del Bosque insists dominating era is not over

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 27:  Spain players line up for the team photos prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between Italy and Spain at Stade de France on June 27, 2016 in Paris, France.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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SAINT-DENIS, France (AP) Dethroned at the World Cup and now at the European Championship, Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque believes his team can soon reign again.

The evidence of Spain’s 2-0 loss on Monday to slick, hard-working Italy in the round of 16 told a different story.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s EURO coverage ]

“No, I don’t think an era is finished,” said Del Bosque, who became coach after the two-time defending champion’s first trophy win in 2008. “Spanish football has a great structure.

“We have the style of football to keep going for many years and achieve many things,” the 65-year-old coach said through a translator.

An aura that faded with Spain’s early exit from the 2014 World Cup was further tarnished at Euro 2016.

Days after losing 2-1 to an injury-hit Croatia side, Spain slumped to back-to-back defeats just like two years ago. Then, it was routed 5-1 by the Netherlands and outplayed 2-0 by Chile in the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

There were similarities to that Chilean defeat at Stade de France, where Italy gave a lesson in sharp passing and smart tactics.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Iceland’s shocking win over England ]

“We were a bit timid in the first half, without a lot of confidence, without a lot of determination,” Del Bosque acknowledged, though adding: “You can’t doubt our good intentions.

“Sometimes the opponent is better, but it’s not because we have played without enough hunger,” he said.

Critics could point to the fact Del Bosque, coaching Spain for the 113rd time, picked the same starting lineup for the fourth straight match here – one that featured four veterans with more than 100 international appearances.

Del Bosque’s loyalty to some players, while leaving young talents on the bench, was a fault at the World Cup.

[ MORE: Marseille accept $42 million Batshuayi bid from Crystal Palace ]

Still, he was proved right here by picking goalkeeper David De Gea, who made his 13th appearance on Monday, over the 167-times capped Iker Casillas, a captain in the trophy-winning years.

De Gea made three high-quality saves in the first half, and another in the second to limit the score at 1-0 from defender Giorgio Chiellini’s 33rd-minute poacher’s strike in the goalmouth.

Italy got the result it deserved in second-half stoppage time when Graziano Pelle was unmarked to shoot emphatically past De Gea.

Del Bosque then ambled out of the dugout, hands thrust deep in his pockets. He stopped half way toward the touchline, did not gesture, and did not appear to shout words of encouragement or advice.

At the final whistle, the coach stood in his technical area gazing across the field. Nearby, the Italy substitutes and staff jumped wildly around their coach Antonio Conte, who had been hyperactive all game.

[ RELATED: Will Messi stay retired from the Argentina national team? ]

Del Bosque turned in a slow shuffling walk, typical of a long-retired player, and consoled some staff before being first to enter the tunnel leading to the locker rooms.

The 46-year-old Conte – who joins Chelsea when Italy’s adventure in France is over – would later point to Spanish clubs’ success in winning the Champions League title for the past three years.

“I think Spanish football is in rude health. They have some wonderful players,” Conte said through a translator.

Italy had the better team, though, and will face Spain again in October. The two European powers are in the same qualifying group for the 2018 World Cup, and only the group winner is sure to play in Russia.

Del Bosque did not rule out leading that campaign.

“I didn’t say `yes’ or `no’. I said I must speak to the (Spanish federation) president,” Del Bosque said. “We must do what is best for Spanish football.

“It’s a golden era for Spanish football and it starts again.”

EURO 2016 quarterfinals: Germany vs. Italy headlines the action

LILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 26:  Julian Draxler of Germany celebrates scoring his team's third goal during the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between Germany and Slovakia at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on June 26, 2016 in Lille, France.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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And then there were eight.

The quarterfinal field for EURO 2016 is now officially set with eight nations remaining in the fight to be crowned the best team in Europe.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s EURO coverage ]

Pre-tournament favorites France and Germany are still in the thick of things, but there are a few surprises still alive in the likes of Iceland and Wales.

The biggest quarterfinal matchup is between Germany and Italy. Germany is coming off of a convincing 3-0 win over Slovakia in one of the best performances of the tournament, however, they have never beaten Italy in a major tournament in eight attempts.

Conte’s men knocked out two-time defending European champions Spain in the Round of 16 with a classic Italian performance, winning the tactical battle with a defense-first mentality. Originally thought of as a weaker Italian side, this team has found it’s form at the perfect time.

[ MORE: England’s embarrassing EURO exit leaves future in ruins ]

Cristiano Ronaldo will hope to lead Portugal past Poland into the semifinals, while his Real Madrid teammate Gareth Bale must figure out how to stop a Belgium side that smashed four past Hungary in the Round of 16.

The final match of the quarterfinals will take place in Saint-Denis between host nation France and Iceland. France have not played their best football yet and must find their form against an Iceland side that has nothing to lose after a shocking win over England to reach this stage.

Icelandic announcer at it again with another legendary play call

NICE, FRANCE - JUNE 27:  Aron Gunnarsson (C) and Iceland players celebrate their team's 2-1 win with supporters after the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between England and Iceland at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 27, 2016 in Nice, France.  (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
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Gudmundur Benediktsson is making a name for himself at EURO 2016, and no he’s not a player on the Iceland national team.

Benediktsson is an Icelandic commentator whose wild play call on Iceland’s winning goal over Austria went viral during the group stage.

[ MORE: Hodgson quits as England boss ]

While that win over Austria was at the time the biggest result in Icelandic football history, that all changed when the tiny island nation defeated England in the quarterfinals on Monday.

After falling behind 1-0 early, Iceland responded twice to take a 2-1 lead before the break, holding on through the second half to advance to the quarterfinals.

Benediktsson somehow still had a voice after the Austria match, and he let everyone hear it when Iceland took the lead.

When the final whistle blew, Benediktsson erupted in emotion once again, but was still able to take a shot at England in the process.

In case your Icelandic isn’t too sharp, here’s the translation from that final call.

“This is done! This is done! We are never going home! Did you see that! Did you see that! Never wake me from this amazing dream.”

“Live the way you want England! Iceland is going to play France on Sunday. France Iceland! You can go home. You can go out of Europe. You can go wherever the hell you want. England 1 Iceland 2 is the closing score here in Nice. And the fairytale continues.”

Well played, Gudmundur.

Marseille accept $42 million Crystal Palace bid for Michy Batshuayi

TOULOUSE, FRANCE - JUNE 26: Michy Batshuayi of Belgium scores his team's second goal past Gabor Kiraly of Hungary during the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between Hungary and Belgium at Stadium Municipal on June 26, 2016 in Toulouse, France.  (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)
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Crystal Palace could be set to shock the Premier League with one of the biggest signings of the summer.

French news outlet L’Equipe is reporting that Marseille have accepted a $42 million bid accepted for striker Michy Batshuayi from the South London club.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s EURO coverage ]

The 22-year-old Belgian international has been linked with the likes of Tottenham and West Ham, with Palace quickly placing a large bid in an attempt to close the deal. While Marseille have reportedly accepted the bid, the player may turn down the move with other offers likely on the way in the coming days.

Batshuayi scored 17 goals in Ligue 1 last season while earning a consistent spot in the Belgian national team. He made his first appearance of EURO 2016 off the bench for Belgium in their win over Hungary, scoring with his first touch on the ball.

[ MORE: Liverpool finalizing terms with Southampton’s Sadio Mane ]

Connor Wickham led Palace in scoring last season with just five goals. An upgrade at the striker position was the club’s biggest need, and it looks like chairman Steve Parish and manager Alan Pardew are ready to spend big.

Crystal Palace is also in advanced talks to sign Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda, who was named Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Year last season for the fourth time in his career.