Just moments ago, Fredy Montero eliminated what little doubt remained. Though the Seattle Sounders and Major League Soccer have yet to confirm his loan-to-buy deal to Bogata’s Millonarios, the team’s all-time leading goal scorer tweeted out his goodbyes on Wednesday, apparently set to return to Colombia:
The team’s only been in Major League Soccer for four years, but as one of the few players who has appeared during each MLS campaign, Montero is seen by many as the best player in franchise history. His 47 goals are a franchise record, and while his struggles in the playoffs have been well-documented, Montero led to Sounders to four consecutive post season appearances.
Seattle has enough depth to be competitive without Montero, which is not to say the team won’t miss him. Still, it was time to move on. Having been pulled off in his last appearance for the Sounders (when Seattle was eliminated by the LA Galaxy in the Western Conference final), there were hints Montero was no longer the focal point of Sigi Schmid’s attack. At 24 years old and hoping to work his way back into his national team, now was the time for Montero to leave. Undoubtedly, he’s hoping a stint with Millonarios will vault him to Europe (a hope he spoke openly about at the end of last season).
Seattle gets return on their investment (their part of a rumored $4.5 million sale). They also open up a Designated Player spot, something a team with their resources can leverage better than most.
But they lose somebody who’d become one of the faces of the team. That’s going to be the hard part.
ROME (AP) The Italian soccer federation has signed a wide-ranging memorandum with the Chinese government to promote soccer between the two countries.
The deal foresees playing the Italian Super Cup or Italian Cup in China within the next three years.
[ MORE: Upsets in EURO qualifying ]
The Italian Super Cup – which pits the Serie A champion against the Italian Cup champion – has already been played in China four times over the last 10 years.
The meeting with China Media Group head Shen Haixiong also focused on TV content and rights, collaboration over developing young Chinese players in Italy and instruction for using the video assistant referee.
Shen was in Rome for the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Italian federation president Gabriele Gravina says, “Soccer has shown once again to be a bridge between different cultures.”
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Portland Timbers forward Dairon Asprilla has had to spend some time in the USL Championship this season, and the second tier would probably like to see Gio Savarese keep the Colombian in Major League Soccer.
[ REPORT: Liverpool to sell Keita? ]
Asprilla scored twice and added an assists on Saturday night in a defeat of Eric Wynalda’s Las Vegas Lights, and he put up a near picture perfect bicycle kick on the highlight reel.
Watch as he sets himself up, willingly or not, for the endeavor before splashing a shot in the side panel for an amazing aesthetic.
A report claims that Liverpool is ready to admit defeat in the case of Naby Keita.
Keita, 24, was bought from RB Leipzig last season and arrived at Anfield in the summer, but has struggled to find consistent playing time under Jurgen Klopp.
[ VIDEO: USMNT’s Saief shines for FC Cincinnati ]
Viewed as the missing link between the Virgil Van Dijk and Liverpool’s torrential attack, Keita has not come close to replicating the form that saw his price tag reach $69 million.
Indeed, Team Talk says Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich look prepared to pay around $53 million to bring Keita back to the Bundesliga.
Keita has played 27 matches in all competitions for Liverpool, accumulating 1,388 minutes and just one assist. He had nine goals and seven assists in more than double the minutes one season ago.
According to WhoScored.com, he’s passing the ball better and taking almost a foul less than last season, but almost every other measurable has declined since he moved to England.
I’m as guilty as anyone of thinking Keita would be everything the Reds required after an improved 2017-18, but he’s either being used very poorly or having trouble adjusting to the culture.
It’s early to quit on a player so talented, but maybe Klopp and he just don’t mesh well. But if it isn’t a case of clashing with the club, it may be worth waiting out a player who looked a giant just eight months ago.
It wasn’t just Germany and the Netherlands staging a tight and entertaining match in EURO 2020 qualifying on Sunday.
[ VIDEO: Saief, Manneh lead FC Cincinnati ]
Hungary 2-1 Croatia
Ante Rebic’s early goal made a “business as usual” statement for the World Cup runners-up, but Hungary can be a handful against any opponents and rallied at home.
Hoffenheim striker Adam Szalai brought the hosts level at halftime, and Mate Patkai gave Hungary a deserved 2-1 win in Budapest.
Coming three days after a loss in Slovakia to start qualifying, it was an early almost-must-win for Marco Rossi’s men.
Israel 4-2 Austria
Marko Arnautovic‘s brace in defeat couldn’t have come with different vibes. His eighth minute marker gave the Austrians a leg up, his 75th minute goal meaning very little with the side having conceded four-straight in between.
China-based striker Eran Zahavi scored a hat trick for Israel, and RB Salzburg star Munas Dabbur scored the fourth goal to keep the hosts within sight of first place Poland.
Austria is winless through two qualifiers.
Wales 1-0 Slovakia
Cyprus 0-2 Belgium
San Marino 0-2 Scotland
Netherlands 2-3 Germany — RECAP, VIDEO
Northern Ireland 2-1 Belarus
Poland 2-0 Latvia
Slovenia 1-1 Macedonia
Kazakhstan 0-4 Russia