Ethan Finlay

Photo credit: Minnesota United / @MNUFC

MLS Snapshot: FCD’s winless skid hits 10 in loss to MNUFC

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The game in 100 words (or less): Just when FC Dallas think they’ve hit rock-bottom, the fall a little bit farther. Oscar Pareja’s side saw its winless skid hit 10 games on Saturday, with a 4-1 loss away to Minnesota United, a side themselves with all of three wins from their last dozen games. Gone now are the games in hand that buoyed FCD’s hopes just a few weeks ago, as they’re now level on games played with many of the sides presently ahead of them in the race for a Western Conference playoff spot, save for Real Salt Lake (level on points) and the San Jose Earthquakes (one point ahead). Following their sixth loss in 10 games, FCD remain eighth in the West, a point behind the Houston Dynamo for the sixth and final playoff place (RSL play later on Saturday with a chance to go fifth themselves. Minnesota, meanwhile, distance themselves from the 10th-place LA Galaxy and sit just six points behind FCD, having rebounded nicely after an appalling start to their expansion season.

[ MORE: MLS weekend preview — ATL host MTL; RSL desperate vs. SEA ]

Three Four Five moments that mattered

14′ — Akindele arrives late, slams home for 1-0 — Tesho Akindele waltzed through the penalty area, unnoticed and unmarked, before arriving at the top of the six-yard box just in time to meet Michael Barrios’ cross.

24′ — Ramirez finishes after a beautiful through ball sets him up — Kevin Molino picked the right pass, and played it perfectly (with a bit of help from Walker Zimmerman), and Christian Ramirez made no mistake with the finish.

35′ — Ibarra volleys past Gonzalez to make it 2-1 — Ramirez turned provider on Minnesota’s second goal, lofting the ball into the penalty area for Miguel Ibarra, whose first-time take beat Jesse Gonzalez to put the home side ahead.

68′ — Shuttleworth denies Diaz from the spot — Two games, two saves from the penalty spot for Bobby Shuttleworth.

71′ — Finlay finishes some fancy build-up for 3-1 — Heartbreak on one end of the field, heartbreak on the other end of the field. Anything and everything that could go wrong for FCD, continues to go wrong for FCD.

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

Man of the match: Christian Ramirez

Goalscorers: Akindele (14′), Ramirez (24′), Ibarra (35′), Finlay (71′), Danladi (88′)

Assessing the top moves during the MLS summer transfer window

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While some squads appear content with their current crop of players, others went out and were active this summer in the MLS transfer market.

A little over two months remain in the regular season, and with so many teams vying for a playoff berth in both conferences we saw several high-profile moves to increase their chances of reaching the MLS Cup playoffs.

[ MORE: USMNT huge climbers in latest FIFA world rankings ]

PST takes a look at the top moves from the MLS summer transfer window, which closed Wednesday night.


D.C. adds USMNT’s Paul Arriola

It’s been a really good 2017 for the U.S. Men’s National Team winger. Arriola is looking more and more like a legitimate candidate to make the Stars and Stripes roster for Russia 2018, assuming the U.S. closes out qualifying strong. There’s a number of reasons to like this move, though, from a D.C. perspective. Not only is Arriola a budding USMNT talent, but he’s a young one at that. He’s only 22. Additionally, he gives the Eastern Conference side another quality attacking threat to go along with Luciano Acosta in the near future as the club prepares to unveil its new stadium in 2018.


Orlando acquires Dom Dwyer

He’s only 27 years old and arguably a top 5 striker in MLS. While Sporting KC appears to be content with its options in the absence of Dwyer, Orlando City certainly gained a tremendous asset to partner up front in the Lions attack with Cyle Larin. It remains to be seen how long Larin will remain in a purple kit down in Orlando given the rising interest from clubs in Europe, however, the pairing of these two finishers could be the most deadly in the league once they are acclimated with one another.


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Ethan Finlay to Minnesota

Finlay’s form has clearly dropped off in 2017 from his performances of past years, which signified that this was probably the right time for the midfielder to make a change. His one goal and one assist this campaign are underwhelming given his past production, but the Loons have the chance to now reinvigorate the Minnesota native with an attack in place that’s already pretty talented. Head coach Adrian Heath has pieces in place (i.e. Kevin Molino, Christian Ramirez, Abu Danladi) that will help ease the transition for Finlay, who has shone at the highest levels of MLS. Just think back to 2015. Finlay was an MLS All-Star. He was voted into the MLS Best XI. And most importantly, he had his side on the brink of winning MLS Cup against the Portland Timbers.


Atlanta trades for Bobby Boswell

Why is a 34-year-old center back important for Tata Martino’s side? Experience. Boswell has previously played in the postseason in 11 of his past 12 seasons with both D.C. United and the Houston Dynamo. Atlanta did a good job of adding MLS veterans prior to their debut in MLS this season with players like Jeff Larentowicz and Jacob Peterson, but Boswell not only adds experience but much needed depth defensively as well. There’s no question Atlanta’s attack is elite, and that’s even without Josef Martinez — who has been sidelined due to injury. If Atlanta can strengthen its back line, nobody is going to want to face them come playoff time.


Aaron Maund joins the Whitecaps

It’s surely the least sexy pick on this list, but Maund is legit. He’s become as consistent a center back option as there is in MLS, and while RSL’s poor form hasn’t help Maund’s case for being an All-Star — or even receiving significant notice in general — the 26-year-old can immediately help the Whitecaps in their starting XI and provide Carl Robinson with depth as playoff time approaches.


Special mention

While this club won’t take the field until 2018, LA FC announced its first Designated Player signing this week with the acquisition of Mexican international forward Carlos Vela. The 28-year-old goalscorer currently plays in Spain with Real Sociedad, where he will reside until officially joining the expansion MLS side in January.

Report: Minnesota United to acquire Finlay from Crew

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Columbus Crew added an attacking talent earlier Tuesday, and may be shipping another away to the Western Conference, according to FourFourTwo’s Paul Tenorio.

Longtime Crew winger Ethan Finlay looks set for a return to the state of his birth, Minnesota, with Minnesota United acquiring him for General Allocation Money and Targeted Allocation Money.

Finlay, 27, would move just after Columbus’ signed Pedro Santos from Braga as the club’s third Designated Player.

[ INTERVIEW: Warshaw talks his raw memoir ]

It’s been a tough season for Finlay in Columbus, as he has a single goal and a matching assist, but he’s been a Crew asset to the tune of 166 career appearances with 34 goals and 29 assists.

Finlay earned three caps under Jurgen Klinsmann after busting into the USMNT fold in 2016, assisting on Jozy Altidore’s match-winner in a friendly against Canada.

DP on DP crime: Kamara goes off on Higuain after PK incident

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Perhaps this is why a 4-1 lead combusts into a 4-4 draw, Kei Kamara.

The prolific Columbus Crew striker flipped out on fellow Designated Player Federico Higuain on Saturday after the latter decided to take a penalty kick with the club sitting on a 3-1 lead and Kamara hoping for a hat trick.

[ MATCH RECAP: Columbus 4-4 Montreal ]

Kamara said he felt tricked by Higuain, who tried to give penalty winner Ethan Finlay the attempt, only to keep the ball when Finlay declined.

Higuain converted the attempt before Montreal came back to equalize by stoppage time, and Kamara’s anger lasted into the dressing room with comments like, “That’s not teammates. That’s selfishness.”

From the Columbus Dispatch:

Kamara said the situation hasn’t cooled his desire to play for the Crew, and he said he and Higuain “are good” after talking briefly after the game.

But “the relationship with my playmaker … there is none,” he said. “I never have to worry about it.”

Conventional wisdom, especially in a blowout, states that the guy sitting on two goals gets a look at a hat trick.

But Kamara needed to cool off well before speaking to reporters. Higuain chose not to, and perhaps we know why. Last year’s MLS finalists are showing some cracks in the foundation on the field, and now perhaps off?

USMNT’s January camp has recent history of producing reliable first-teamers

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As the years have gone by, and U.S. national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has had more and more time to make his mark on the U.S. program — expanding the player pool sits atop the list of positives of his tenure — the USMNT’s annual January camp has become less about debuting stars of the future, and more about extending an opportunity for the lesser heralded American player to shine — about one player each of Klinsmann’s four full years in the job.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

As such, recent history has shown January camp is much less likely to produce a future standout for the USMNT, and much more likely to unearth a hidden gym capable of becoming a regular contributor. The following players have used January call-ups and debuts to launch their USMNT careers to varied successes…

Gyasi Zardes, forward, January camp class of 2015 — Zardes made a staggering 19 appearances for the USMNT in 2015, after emerging the main bright spot in last year’s camp and ensuing friendlies. In his first 19 caps, Zardes managed to bag three goals while playing mostly as a left winger in Klinsmann’s 4-2-3-1(-ish) system. Like the rest of the names on this list, Zardes hasn’t been, and likely never will be, a superstar for the USMNT, but remains a useful and growing contributor 12 months after his debut.

[ MORE: USA vs. Iceland preview — USMNT kicks off 2016 on Sunday ]

DeAndre Yedlin, defender, January camp class of 2014 — Yedlin’s USMNT debut came on Feb. 1, 2014, and six short months later, the now-22-year-old had become an overnight sensation at the 2014 World Cup and signed for Premier League giant Tottenham Hotspur. Now on loan at Sunderland, Yedlin remains a first-team regular for the USMNT, if not a full-time starter. Yet another reminder: sports are all about opportunities, and what you do with them when they come along.

[ MORE: 5 USMNT players with the most to gain from upcoming friendlies ]

Matt Besler, defender, January camp class of 2013 — There has been no more timely emergence of a must-start-every-game player in quite some time than Besler, who in two months’ time in 2012 went from making his USMNT debut in January, to part of the team that drew 0-0 at Mexico’s Estadio Azteca in March, to anchoring the defense during a series of World Cup qualifiers in June. Three years later, Besler is still a virtually undroppable player.

[ MORE: Matt Miazga unveiled by Chelsea | Hiddink: “Squad player for future” ]

Graham Zusi, midfielder, January camp class of 2012 — Zusi’s rise from “nice MLS player” to USMNT regular happened pretty quickly; after making his debut in January 2012, the Sporting Kansas City attacker had amassed 28 of his 32 caps thus far by the end of 2014. That run obviously included the 2014 World Cup, where Zusi notched a pair of assists as the USMNT advanced to the round of 16. Now somewhat on the outside looking in, Zusi is just an injury or two — or a red-hot month or two of club form — away from being right back in the picture.

[ MORE: Freddy Adu is cool with his soccer career, and we should be too ]

Class of 2016 newcomers to keep an eye on

Perry Kitchen, midfielder, free agent

Tony Tchani, midfielder, Columbus Crew SC

Ethan Finlay, midfielder, Columbus Crew SC

Tim Parker, defender, Vancouver Whitecaps

Kellyn Acosta, midfielder, FC Dallas

Matt Polster, midfielder/defender, Chicago Fire