PRO SOCCER TALKPST Select Team

Starry nights: MLS Team of the Week – Round 5

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ProSoccerTalk’s Best XI from Week 5 in Major League Soccer includes two very young men from Real Salt Lake and one prominent “reservist” off the bench:

Goalkeeper:

  • Seattle’s Michael Gspurning

Why we like him: Rarely does the man find his way onto this list whose team has suffered a weekend loss. But Michael Gspurning heroically prevented his team from being laughed on the field in Utah. The Sounder’s Austrian ‘keeper had six saves in the first half alone. That’s a full days work and then some on most MLS afternoons.

Back line:

  • FC Dallas’ Zach Loyd
  • Houston’s Jermaine Taylor
  • LA Galaxy’s Todd Dunivant

Why we like them: MLS scorer extraordinaire Chris Wondolowski was oddly quiet in the Earthquakes’ loss to Houston; Taylor was a major reason.

As for Dunivant, he wasn’t just on top of things (as usual) along the Galaxy’s left side. He also had the bonus of doing something important to help cement the Galaxy’s locker room and team chemistry.

Loyd had a great night up and down the right side against New England, just edging a good performance out of right back from Sporting KC’s Chance Myers.

Midfield:

  • Real Salt Lake’s Luis Gil
  • Sporting Kansas City’s Benny Feilhaber
  • Houston’s Ricardo Clark (pictured)
  • Portland’s Will Johnson
  • Real Salt Lake’s Sebastian Velasquez

Why we like them: SKC needs the Big Benny Feilhaber, not the shrunken one seen in recent weeks, and also seen too often last year in New England. The former U.S. international had two assists in a big win over Montreal, the Impact’s first loss this year.

Gil, as previously noted, is just 19. We need to keep reminding everyone of that. This kid’s upside is spectacular. Midfield mate Velasquez is just a wee bit older at 22.

We could have picked pretty much anyone in the Dynamo midfield, which spent the evening making Houston hash of the Earthquakes central core. When in doubt, go with “Rico” and all the miles he covers over an evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. That’s what we always say.

More on Johnson later. Hint, hint.

Forwards:

  • Chivas USA’s Eric Avila
  • New York Red Bulls’ Thierry Henry

Why we like them: Avila operated as a wide attacker (not really as a forward) in the Goats’ 3-5-2. But details, details. His work in possession was and in pushing the Chivas USA attack was stellar, not to mention that game-winning goal in the latest forward surge under “El Chelis.”

Yes, Henry’s minutes were limited off the bench. And, yes, he scored just one goal. (We like our forwards to have a couple of them, or at least a goal plus an assist) to land on our team. But you saw that freakin’ goal, right? It was the game-winner, a late one … and absolutely essential for a club so desperate to break the seal on the win column for the year.

Ronaldo: “Usually players of my age go to Qatar or China”

Photo credit: @juventusen
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TURIN, Italy (AP) — At the age of 33, many football players are past their peak. Cristiano Ronaldo vows to show he is not one of them.

[ VIDEO: Juventus unveil Cristiano Ronaldo ]

Juventus signed Ronaldo from Real Madrid last week for $131.5 million — an Italian league record sum — and the world player of the year penned a four-year contract.

Some see it as an extravagant sum for a player who, although a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, is entering the latter stages of a glittering career.

At his first news conference as a Juventus player on Monday, Ronaldo insisted he was motivated by a new challenge and keen to step out of his comfort zone after nine years at Madrid.

“With all due respect, usually players of my age go to Qatar or China, so coming to such an outstanding club at this stage in my career makes me very happy,” he said.

“I’m different from all the other players who think their career is over at my age. I want to show that I’m not like the others, I’m different. It’s an emotional moment for me because I’m not 23, I’m 33.

[ MORE: Hazard hints at Chelsea exit, has “preferred destination” in mind ]

“I’m not here on holiday,” he added. “I want to mark the history of Juventus. I hope I can surprise everyone one last time and I’m very, very confident.”

Ronaldo has always been credited with a phenomenal workrate, and he has promised to continue that at Juventus in order to prolong his longevity.

The Portugal forward moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2009, and became the Spanish club’s all-time leading scorer with 451 in 438 matches. He helped Madrid win four Champions Leagues — beating Juventus in the final in 2017 — and also won La Liga and the Copa del Rey twice each.

Ronaldo, who also led Portugal to the European Championship in 2016, also won the Champions League at Manchester United as well as three Premier Leagues and the FA Cup.

He expects his winning ways to continue at the Serie A champion.

“It will be tough, I know that,” Ronaldo said. “The league is very tough but Juve is ready and I will be ready. The age is not important. I feel good, I feel motivated. I will try to do my best like always. I’m looking forward to starting the league well and to try to win every title.”

[ MORE: Courtois to join Hazard in Chelsea exit? ]

On his arrival at Allianz Stadium for his medical on Monday, Ronaldo was greeted by hundreds of fans, who chanted his name and “Portaci la Champions” (“Bring us the Champions League trophy”).

Juventus hasn’t won the Champions League since 1996. It has been on the losing side in the final five times since then, including twice in the past four editions.

Juventus has won the Serie A for the last seven seasons — and done the league and Italian Cup double for the past four — but has struggled to transfer its domestic supremacy to the European stage.

Ronaldo has won the Champions League four times in the past five seasons. He has a record 120 Champions League goals, 105 of them at Madrid, 12 more than Juventus as a team managed in that same period.

“Juventus has been one step away from it and couldn’t win,” Ronaldo said. “I hope I can be the lucky charm.”

VIDEO: Top 10 goals in 2018 World Cup

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Missing the 2018 World Cup already? Yeah, me too.

But it’s okay, only 1,588 days until the 2022 World Cup tournament in Qatar kicks off…

[ MORE: Review of 2018 World Cup ]

With that in mind, now seems like the best time to go back through the 169 goals scored at the World Cup this summer and pick out the top 10.

It was ridiculously hard to do that given the extreme quality of strikes, but here it goes as you can watch the top goals in the videos below.

Enjoy.


Nacho: Portugal v Spain, June 15, 2018


Cristiano Ronaldo: Portugal v Spain, June 15, 2018


Toni Kroos: Germany v Sweden, June 23, 2018


Jesse Lingard: England v Panama, June 24, 2018


Ricardo Quaresma: Iran v Portugal, June 25, 2018


Lionel Messi: Nigeria v Argentina, June 26, 2018


Angel di Maria: France v Argentina, June 30, 2018


Benjamin Pavard: France v Argentina, June 30, 2018


Kevin De Bruyne: Brazil v Belgium, July 6, 2018

Denis Cheyshev: Russia v Croatia, July 7, 2018

The 2 Robbies Podcast: 2018 World Cup final review

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In the final instalment of The 2 Robbies podcast during the 2018 World Cup, Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe break down an intriguing World Cup final.

With France victorious over Croatia, it was anything but a straightforward win for Les Bleus despite the 4-2 scoreline suggesting so.

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ] 

Listen to the pod in full below as the lads analyze the key themes from a drama packed final in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

https://art19.com/shows/the-2-robbies/episodes/10ae6a3c-01c4-4929-af62-63b730c84b49

Alexis Sanchez to miss start of Man United’s US tour

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Alexis Sanchez did not fly out to the United States of America with Manchester United on Sunday.

[ MORE: Review of 2018 World Cup

The Chilean star, 29, may end up linking up with the Red Devils further down the line but he will miss the first chunk of their 15-day tour Stateside as Jose Mourinho’s men return to the U.S. after a hugely successful batch of summer games and training camps in LA last year.

Manchester United released a statement via a spokesman which read: “Alexis Sanchez did not travel due to a personal administrative issue.”

Speculation suggests that Sanchez was unable to obtain a visa to enter the U.S. after he accepted a 16-month suspended jail sentence in Spain after being found guilty of tax evasion with regards to a $1.17 million image rights issue.

It is believed that Sanchez and his agents are working on trying to secure a visa waiver but the process is taking longer than expected.

The former Barcelona and Arsenal star last played in the USA in the summer of 2016 as he starred for Chile who won the Copa America Centenario by beating Argentina in the final at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

United have a busy preseason schedule coming up as they play against Club America in Phoenix on Thursday, then against the San Jose Earthquakes in Santa Clara on Sunday.

Mourinho’s men end their tour with three huge International Champions Cup matches against AC Milan in LA (July 25), Liverpool at Michigan Stadium (July 28) and then Real Madrid in Miami (July 31) before heading back to Europe for the final days of preseason.

With so many of their star players not due back until the first week of the 2018/19 campaign due to the World Cup, Mourinho will have been hoping to use Sanchez often during preseason as the Chilean forward took advantage of a rare summer off as his country failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia.

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