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Orlando Homegrown keeper battling bone cancer

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Orlando City SC goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar wants to be battling for playing time, and is instead squarely in the fight of his life.

Stajduhar, a U.S. U-18 and U-20 player, has been diagnosed with Localized Ewing Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer, and begins treatment this week.

[ MORE: Rochester Rhinos in jeopardy ]

Promising news: It’s an early diagnosis for Stajduhar, and the disease does have a strong survival rate. From OrlandoCitySC.com:

“Fortunately for Mason, we discovered this early, giving him a better chance for a cure and full recovery,” said Daryl Osbahr, MD, medical director for Orlando City SC and chief of sports medicine for Orlando Health. “We’re dedicated to working with Mason and his oncologists to fight his bone cancer and begin his road to recovery.”

All our best to Stajduhar, Orlando, and his family.

Report: Big decision coming for Kaka

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One of Major League Soccer’s highest-profile Designated Players could be leaving the league this winter.

In an interview with Brazilian publication Globo Esporte, Orlando City SC star Kaka revealed he’s considering three options this winter: Extend his stay in Orlando, move to Sao Paulo FC, or retire.

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“(When I) finish a game you feel a lot of pain, the body begins to feel, so it’s not so much more pleasure,” Kaka said. “A kid plays today and tomorrow again. I’m 35, it takes longer to recover, it’s another rhythm. You feel the time is coming.”

Kaka has previously said that he would be open to signing a new contract with his current $6.6 million per year deal ending this December. He’s currently one of the highest paid players in MLS. Kaka’s scored six goals and added 4 assists in 22 games, but he’s missed time due to injury and Orlando City has already been eliminated from playoff contention for the third-straight season.

If he does retire, Kaka said he’d like to follow Zinedine Zidane’s example. Take a year off and then get into coaching.

“He paused, took a break, saw even if it was really what he loved, studied, took a course, started on the basis of category,” Kaka said. “I’m more on that side as well. Now, some people think you’re ready.”

Kaka’s signing marked another major notch on MLS’ belt in terms of bringing high-profile stars to the league, but he hasn’t been able to have the impact many in Orlando had hoped for. He’s accumulated 25 goals and 19 assists in 76 games in all competitions, but missing the playoffs three-straight years has been tough for fans to swallow, especially with the first-year success of Atlanta United this year as well as Seattle’s second-half turnaround to the title last year.

It would be fitting for Kaka to finish his career in Sao Paulo, where it all started. But it’s likely that if Kaka becomes a coach, we could see him again in the U.S. earning his way up as Patrick Vieira is doing now.

Dom Dwyer eyes “dream” Premier League move

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Orlando City and USMNT striker Dom Dwyer has been talking about a move to the Premier League.

Dwyer, 27, only move to Orlando from Sporting Kansas City in August but the U.S. national team striker — who has two goals in three games after being handed his debut by Bruce Arena — already has his eye on a move back to his native England with one-year left on his current MLS deal.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Dwyer discusses his career in-depth as he retold his story of moving to the U.S. to play in college after being released by Norwich City, then becoming a star in MLS which led to his green card and his U.S. citizenship and a spot in the USMNT.

Dwyer still has bigger goals in mind.

“The dream was always to play in the Premier League and that would be a situation that would be difficult to turn down if it were to come,” Dwyer said. “Right now I’m focusing on things here and we’ll have to see what the future holds. I have one more year left on my contract and we’ll see from there. You never know in football.”

With 57 goals in 128 MLS games for Sporting KC, Dwyer has proven his prowess in front of goal but moving straight to the PL may be too big of a step up for the pacey forward. Perhaps a move to the English Championship or even the Dutch or French top flight would be a better fit to start with.

There’s no doubting his poaching abilities in the box and Dwyer obviously has confidence in himself, but these comments seem to suggest that his stay in Orlando will be short-lived as his ultimate aim is to move abroad.

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.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City 3-3 Montreal Impact (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Ignacio Piatti looked like his two goals in as many minutes would be enough to leave Orlando with three points, but Jonathan Spector and the Lions had something else in mind. Orlando went ahead inside of the opening 10 minutes before the two teams exchanged leads from there on out. The Lions remain fourth in the East with the draw, while the Impact stay ninth in the conference.

Three four five moments that mattered

8′ — Good movement leads to Orlando opener — There was a question of whether the ball went out before Kaka got his cross in but MPG was still in the right place to finish the move off.

16′ — Dzemaili with the howler — Joe Bendik couldn’t even react to that one. 1-1 down in Orlando.

23′ — Rivas blasts home the rebound to restore Orlando’s lead — If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.

58′ — Nacho x 1 — This isn’t the only time you’ll see Ignacio Piatti on the scoresheet.

59′ — Piatti punishes Orlando… again — No, you’re not seeing things. That’s two goals in two minutes.

 

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

Man of the match: Ignacio Piatti

Goalscorers: Matias Perez Garcia (8′), Blerim Dzemaili (16′), Carlos Rivas (23′), Ignacio Piatti (58′, 59′), Jonathan Spector (90+3′)