Toronto FC roster improving; but is it enough?

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I respect Toronto FC boss Ryan Nelsen for not being satisfied with less. It really is commendable that he can watch his team, game after game, give up terrible goals at terrible times and not say what all of us are thinking: the players just aren’t good enough.

So I’ll say it for him: the players aren’t good enough. The roster isn’t good enough.

TFC is trying to do something about it, adding veteran players lately, including another one today in Israeli international Tal Ben Haim. Still, you have to wonder if guys like 32-year-old Scottish defender Steven Caldwell, New Zealand forward Jeremy Brockie and Haim have enough in them to be the game-changers needed at BMO Field?

Nelsen has a point when he tells MLSSoccer.com that teams aren’t “earning” goals against TFC. Bad marking, lost focus, poor positioning, failure to deal with routine balls in the box, etc., it’s all biting TFC as yet another season around Exhibition Place wanders off into the wilderness.

If not for woeful D.C. United, TFC would be right back in its old, unfortunately familiar home, in last place in the East. The latest setback was last night’s 2-1 loss to San Jose

What Nelsen said:

I think we were playing really well. They defended the box, were confident on the ball, got the goal and were looking very comfortable. Then [we] switched off on a throw in during the second half. It was just an unbelievably soft goal, but we have been doing that all season. I don’t think an opposition team has earned a goal against us yet. It has just been cases of us switching off and they just walk it though into the back of the net.”

Again, though, the overriding, unavoidable issue is a roster than just isn’t good enough. That’s not totally surprising considering the rebuild effort that president Kevin Payne and, subsequently, Nelsen, knew they were getting themselves into. Still, that may ring hollow at some point to TFC fans, who have long deserved better.

Robert Earnshaw’s opportunistic goals have propped up an offense that doesn’t have much imagination or punch otherwise. TFC is15th in shots, 14th in shots on goal among the league’s 19 teams. (Danny Koevermans’ eventual return to health should help, it should be noted.)

Things are just as bleak in the back, where even veteran Darren O’Dea has made crushing mistakes at the worst times. Despite good goalkeeping by Joe Bendik the team’s 15 goals allowed is tied for second worst in MLS (although by goals per game, Nelsen’s men are ahead of a few teams.)

The new faces certainly will not hurt; the question is, “Are they enough?” Because there is a lot of field left to plow here.

Neymar appears in good shape after Brazil training week

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TERESOPOLIS, Brazil (AP) Neymar has finished his first full week of training with Brazil in apparent good shape ahead of the upcoming World Cup after foot surgery.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Real vs. Liverpool ]

The striker continued his recovery Saturday in Brazil’s last training session on home soil before setting camp in London on Monday.

Brazilian football confederation footage shows Neymar passing and dribbling at high speed in training that was closed to the media.

The Brazilian has been recovering from right foot surgery in March.

Brazil players will be off duty until Sunday morning. They travel to London hours later.

Heartbroken Karius issues apology to Liverpool

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Liverpool’s disappointing result in Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final can be chalked up to many factors, but all anyone will ever remember is Loris Karius‘ performance… and the goalkeeper knows it.

[ MORE: Bale brace guides Real Madrid to third straight UCL title ]

Karius issued this series of tweets on Sunday, declaring his disappointment from the team’s 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid, as well as an apology to the supporters and his entire club.

Of the two errors Karius made, the Real Madrid equalizer from Karim Benzema was certainly the more glaring.

After receiving the ball on a routine grab, Karius rushed his distribution from goal while Benzema read the play perfectly and stepped in front of the throw to get a foot on the ball.

The ball then deflected into the back of the Liverpool net, and changed the complexion of the match drastically.

While Karius’ mistakes cannot, and won’t, go unnoticed, the Reds were still reeling from Mohamed Salah‘s gruesome shoulder injury in the first half — which leaves the Egypt international’s availability uncertain for the summer’s World Cup in Russia.

Rotherham gains promotion to Championship

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After one season down in League One, the Millers are returning to the Sky Bet Championship in 2018/19.

[ MORE: Tammy Abraham rescues England in Toulon opener ]

Rotherham United defeated Shrewsbury Town, 2-1, in extra time on Sunday at Wembley Stadium to reach the Championship.

Regulation wasn’t enough to decide the League One playoff final, but Richard Wood brace ensured his side, Rotherham, would reach the English second division ahead of the 2018/19 season.

Wood did superbly to volley home his squad’s second goal in the first half of extra time, after a brilliant Joe Newell set piece curled into the path of the defender.

Shrewsbury equalized around the hour mark when Alex Rodman calmly placed the ball beyond goalkeeper Marek Rodak from close ranger after a perfectly-executed set piece that caught the Millers off guard.

The first half went largely in favor Rotherham though, having taken the lead in the 32nd minute through Wood’s header to the bottom left corner.

The lead should have been larger though heading into halftime, but David Ball’s early penalty kick was saved by Shrews keeper Dean Henderson in the ninth minute to keep the match scoreless at the time.

Transfer rumor roundup: Man United plans Joe Hart move and more

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Pro Soccer Talk takes a glance at some of the biggest transfer rumors on Sunday…

[ MORE: Bale brace guides Real to third straight UCL title ]


We start in Manchester, where the Red Devils are reportedly interested in raiding their cross-town rivals for a back-up goalkeeper.

Man United is said to have interest in Manchester City’s Joe Hart, who missed out on being called up to England for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Hart has spent the last two seasons on loan from the Citizens, spending 2016/17 in Serie A with Torino and this past season with West Ham United.


Sticking with United, the Red Devils are preparing a new contract for Anthony Martial, according to the Sun.

Martial has become a regular for United since joining from Monaco in 2015, scoring 36 goals in all competitions.


Finally, Danny Rose could be making a Merseyside move if Everton has it their way.

The Toffees are eyeing up the Tottenham left back, although Manchester United has also expressed its interest in the England international.

Rose missed a significant portion of the 2017/18 season due to a knee injury, and the 27-year-old could be on the move this summer despite spending the last 11 seasons in London with Spurs.