Initial reaction to John Spencer’s dismissal: Timbers owner Merritt Paulson had it right – before he got it wrong.
Paulson is the kind of owner you want: present, engaged and emotionally invested. He wants badly to win, so it’s easy to see how he could lose the bigger plot in the frustrating fog of it all.
Just last May, Paulson (pictured, on the left) told the Oregonian: “Too many owners across sports are too quick to make coaching changes just for the sake of change.” Exactly. I’m sure Paulson doesn’t feel like this is change for change’s sake – but it’s still not a wise move.
Generally speaking, organizations do themselves no favors by spinning the coaching wheel early and often. Great examples are at Chivas USA and Toronto FC, where rudderless management has mostly prevailed from Day 1, quicksand pits where coaching careers usually go to die.
As I’ve said about others before: I don’t know if John Spencer can or can’t function as a successful manager in Major League Soccer, but I’m sure that he didn’t get a fair chance to show us one way or the other.
Spencer’s record in a season and a half with an expansion team isn’t glorious, but it’s far from awful. At 16-22-13 it’s about what anyone could reasonably expect.
The crush point is a mindset that says “We are different” and “We are not like everyone else.” Of course, by definition, everyone else is everyone else.
This isn’t 1998, where a feeble league still in infancy can be had by an expansion team. That will never happen again. Believe it. Portland came close to making the playoffs last year, which is all any expansion club can hope for. Yes, I know about Seattle, a.k.a. the “exception” and not the “rule.”
What I’ve said before: Clubs that plot a sure course and steadily stay the course will eventually reap benefits. The rest wander erratically, altering course like stray mutts, only rarely finding their way home.
Paulson could prove right on this one. But at this moment I wouldn’t bet on it.
Reports: Ajax, Barcelona reach agreement over USMNT’s Dest
Ronald Koeman couldn’t convince Sergino Dest to represent the Netherlands over the United States, but the Barcelona boss has reportedly talked the Ajax back into choosing the Blaugranas over the Bavarians.
Dest, 19, has been widely linked with Bayern Munich in recent weeks, though Barcelona was also mentioned with the caveat that Koeman would have to sell players to bring others in due to the La Liga outfit’s salary problems.
Capped thrice by the United States after the Yanks won a recruitment battle with the Netherlands, Dest went 90 minutes in eight of Ajax’s last 10 Eredivisie matches and came off the bench in their opening two Eredivisie matches of the 2020-21 campaign. That’s likely due to transfer issues.
Dest would become the second American to represent Barcelona on a matchday 18, just missing out on the honor of being first. Barca academy product Konrad de la Fuente signed a contract with the club this summer, and was an unused sub when the Blaugranas beat Napoli in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg on Aug. 8.
☎️ Oriol Domenech confirma en TV3 …
PRINCIPIO DE ACUERDO del Ajax con el FCB por Sergiño Dest por 20 millones + 5 en variables.
West Bromwich Albion is out of the tournament after blowing two leads and losing in penalties at home to Brentford, while West Ham blasted Hull City after an alarming COVID-19 moment and League Two side Newport County dismissed Watford.
Then there’s Tottenham and Leyton Orient, who didn’t even get to play. It’s all in the FA Cup wrap.
Luton Town 0-3 Manchester United
The score line does not tell the story here (aside from, you know, the goal total).
Brandon Williams won a late first-half penalty that Juan Mata smashed home as the Red Devils labored to a win over the Championship’s Hatters.
Marcus Rashford came off the bench to ice the game off a feed from fellow sub Mason Greenwood, who was later assisted by another sub in Bruno Fernandes.
Dean Henderson made an outstanding save in his long-awaited Manchester United senior debut.
The 23-year-old has been United property since he was 14 and has taken loans with four clubs including a highly-celebrated two years with Sheffield United.
Henderson did not have to make a save until the 81st minute, when he made a big stop to keep United on top at Kenilworth Road.
Mata’s goal came in his 200th appearance for the Red Devils. Donny van de Beek made his first Manchester United start in the win.
23 & 19 – Since the start of last season, Manchester United have both taken (23) and scored (19) more penalties in all competitions than any other English league side. Inevitable. #CarabaoCup
Yarmolenko now has nine goals and five assists in just over 1700 minutes with West Ham. He missed 2.5 months with a muscle tear last season.
Sebastien Haller had a brace and Robert Snodgrass scored the other goal as West Ham’s “second string” continues to beat up on lower league competition while awaiting chances off the bench in the PL.
Mallik Wilks had brought Hull within two in the 70th minute only to see Haller and Yarmolenko complete their braces in stoppage time.
Newport County 3-1 Watford
The Hornets had little going for them despite having the better of possession, outshot 12-2 by the time League Two’s Exiles reclaimed their two-goal lead with 25 minutes on the clock.
Adelberto Penaranda came off the bench to score for Watford after the Exiles built a 2-0 lead through Tristan Abrahams and Josh Labadie. Padraig Amond bagged County’s third goal to turn the screws on the former Premier League side.
Stipe Perica sealed Watford’s fate with an 88th-minute red card. The Hornets have a win and a draw in their return to the Championship and will focus on that until the FA Cup.
West Bromwich Albion 2-2 (4-5 pens) Brentford
The Bees couldn’t catch the Baggies in the race for the automatic promotion last season but kept scrapping en route to a pair of equalizers at the Hawthorns on Tuesday.
Brentford made all of its penalties, its fifth sealing the win after Grady Diangana’s effort was saved by David Raya.
Hal Robson-Kanu scored both of West Brom’s goals but answers came from Emiliano Marcondes and Marcus Forss to have it level with 17 minutes left in scheduled time.
For now, health aside, Spurs are probably quite happy to have day off given a wild fixture list across three competitions which includes a trip to Macedonia for Europa League action on Thursday.
Next League Cup third round fixtures
All times ET
Preston North End v Brighton — 2 pm
Millwall v Burnley — 2 pm
Fulham v Sheffield Wednesday — 2 pm
Stoke City v Gillingham — 2 pm
Chelsea v Barnsley — 2:45 pm
Leicester City v Arsenal — 2:45 pm
Fleetwood Town v Everton — 2:45 pm
Morecambe v Newcastle United — 2:45 pm
Bristol City v Aston Villa — 2 pm
Lincoln City v Liverpool — 2:45 pm
Manchester City v Bournemouth — 2:45 pm
League Cup fourth round draw
Lincoln City/Liverpool v Leicester City/Arsenal
Millwall/Burnley v Manchester City/Bournemouth Brentford v Fulham/Sheffield Wednesday
Fleetwood Town/Everton v West Ham United
Bristol City/Aston Villa v Stoke City/Gillingham
Leyton Orient/Tottenham v Chelsea/Barnsley Newport County v Morecambe/Newcastle United
Preston North End/Brighton v Manchester United
The Gold Cup was previously postponed to June 10 – July 1 and the draw is set for Monday.
The Nations League semifinals see No. 1 seed Mexico against No. 4 Costa Rica and the No. 2 Catrachos of Honduras meeting the third-seeded USMNT.
A U.S. Soccer Federation release said the move is to put the focus on first stage of qualifying (It also gives all of the participants more time to figure out the pandemic atmosphere if it, as anticipated, reaches into a second year dramatically affecting sporting competitions):
This official competition Finals event will take place in a centralized location in the United States in June 2021. Concacaf will now work with our stakeholders to finalize the location and specific dates for this competition.
Playing this competition in June 2021 will enable the First Round of the Concacaf Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup, which involve 30 Concacaf Member Associations, to take center stage in March 2021.
Concacaf remains in discussions with FIFA to agree a new schedule for the Concacaf Qualifiers which retains the current format.
U.S. Soccer also announced that it will not play any matches or train in the October international break, aiming for a November return. That means Christian Pulisic will have even more time to find top form for Chelsea.
General manager Brian McBride says Gregg Berhalter’s group may have an additional December camp with its January camp, which is great news for MLS players hoping to cement their statuses in Berhalter’s mind while the European talent continues to play overseas.
“After extensive conversations about holding a men’s national team camp in October, we ultimately determined the unique challenges created by COVID-19 as it relates to hosting international opponents and getting our players together wouldn’t allow us to move forward,” men’s team general manager Brian McBride said, via the Associated Press. “While we won’t have the team together in this upcoming window, we are making considerable progress for November.”