Two big MLS trades ship scoring firepower to FC Dallas

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Until this morning, you could track back through FC Dallas rosters of the last four seasons and count on one finger – yup, one bony ol’ finger – the number of genuine front-line strikers found hanging around the club in that time.

Now, FC Dallas Stadium is overflowing with them.

Almost too many, even!

The club wasted no time in turning a cool few million from last week’s Brek Shea transfer into talent flowing back into the FCD mix. Today the club announced trades that bring Kenny Cooper and Eric Hassli to Texas.

(Good details on the Eric Hassli trade are here; More on Cooper and the relevant data are here.)

In Dallas, they join Blas Perez, the one, actual top-flight striker to suit-up and boot-up for FC Dallas since – well, since Cooper left FC Dallas back in 2008 to try soccer overseas.

Hassli’s move to Dallas is all about Toronto clearing cap room. (We talked about that in yesterday’s post.) Dallas handed over a conditional second round pick in 2014, a pittance for a man who, just more than a year ago, stood as the DP centerpiece to Vancouver’s attack.

Cooper’s move is more difficult to untangle. As we pointed out a few days back, the list of 18-goal scorers in MLS over the last four years starts and stops at Cooper and Chris Wondolowski. Yes, some of Cooper’s success was about playing alongside Thierry Henry (pictured above, with Cooper), as brainy as he is talented. Still, 18 goals is 18 goals – a fact that seemed curiously lost on New York.

What the Red Bulls get in return is allocation money; FC Dallas has plenty at the moment thanks to the Shea transfer.

We’ll look more later at this trade from #RBNY’s side, at what manager Mike Petke might desire to round out his lineup. Presumably, someone whom Henry enjoys playing with a little more than he seemed to with Cooper.

Video: Ronaldo scores fourth goal, gives Portugal early lead

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He has four goals in less than two matches, and Portugal is off to another flying start courtesy of their star forward.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Cristiano Ronaldo gave the Portuguese a 1-0 lead against Morocco in the fourth minute after brilliantly heading home a corner kick.

The Real Madrid star gave Portugal a similar spark at the beginning of their 3-3 draw against Spain in their first Group B match when Ronaldo drew, and scored a penalty kick inside of the opening three minutes.

Is there anything this man cannot do?

Reports: Alli unlikely to play in England’s second Group G match

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The Three Lions may not have taken all good news away from the team’s 2-1 win over Tunisia in their World Cup opener.

[ MORE: Russia races past Egypt, likely en route to next round ]

Several reports are suggesting that England will likely be without Tottenham playmaker Dele Alli in their second Group G match against Panama on Sunday.

Alli was forced out of England’s opener with a thigh strain, which gave manager Gareth Southgate the decision to put in Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

There isn’t a timetable for the 22-year-old’s return to the pitch, but his absence will definitely present a major question for Southgate heading into the rest of group play.

Without Alli in the starting XI, it’ll likely be between Loftus-Cheek and Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard to fill the role where Alli normally sits.

In the case of Lingard, who started against Tunisia, the England boss would have to bring in another starter if Southgate opts to have the Red Devils attacker sit in as the number 10.

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

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Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

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Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.