Gold Cup Highlights, U.S.A. vs. El Salvador: Counting down the U.S.’s goals

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At the 60th minute, this was a one-goal game despite the fact that the U.S. had held over 70 percent of the possession and doubled El Salvador’s shots on goal. Then the dam broke, with a lopsided affair leaving the Salvadorans fortunate to get out of Baltimore with only a 5-1 loss.

We’ve already discussed the game, broken it down, named our heroes and looked into their futures. Now let’s focus on the goals. Here’s a countdown of the tallies that seemed to get easier as the night went on.

5. Mix Diserkud’s header – At 4-1 late in the second half, El Salvador was toast, which is why they provided little opposition to the U.S. playing wide in the area, chipping back toward, and creating a game-icing goal for their young midfielder. Pretty basic stuff.

4. Landon Donovan rips the defense in two – After the game, people were talking about Donovan’s renewed motivation. Who knows if Sunday was different or he just had a good day, but sprinting through the Salvadoran defense, easily weaving around Dagoberto Portillo, Donovan showed a spark while racking up the 54th goal of his international career.

3. Eddie Johnson finds the corner … off a corner – Get a free run up, have nobody go up with you, and you’re supposed to put the ball on frame. That’s what good targets do. Eddie Johnson, however, cushioned an unstoppable ball into the upper-left hand corner from six yards out, restoring the U.S.’s two-goal lead at the hour mark.

2. Clarence Goodson opens the scoring – It was an easy finish after some defensive breakdowns, but bonus points for execution to the U.S. on this one; a rare moment where something seemingly translates from the drawing board and training ground directly onto the pitch. A short corner is played back to Michael Parkhurst, who chips toward the line for Donovan. Donovan cuts back to Goodson, and in the 21st minute, the U.S. have their opener.

1. Joe Corona doubles the U.S.’s lead – The day’s best finish, the goal was also notable for what Landon Donovan did to set it up, putting the defense on their heels before allowing Chris Wondolowski to set up Corona. The Club Tijuana star patiently finds a lane through which to fire the U.S. to a 2-0 lead.

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.

West Ham signs club record center back from Toulouse

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West Ham has reportedly set a club record with its latest signing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Issa Diop is the player, the 21-year-old Toulouse captain and center back costing the Irons around $29 million.

[ MORE: Arsenal signs Leno ]

Diop scored three goals with an assist and eight yellow cards in 31 Ligue 1 matches this season, giving the young defender 95 apps, six goals, three assists, and 23 yellows since debuting with the senior team at 18.

Capped by France at every level below the senior team, Diop’s 2.2 interceptions per game ranked sixth in Ligue 1.

Toulose finished 18th in Ligue 1, but won its promotion/relegation playoff to stay in the French top flight.

From WHUFC.com:

“I am very happy to sign for such a historic, English club, and I hope to show my best here. I am a very ambitious player and West Ham is a very ambitious club, as we’ve seen with the appointment of the new coach. I hope to help the team win lots of games and make the fans happy.”

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 3

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In the third episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England pulls out a massive win while VAR finds its way into the World Cup spotlight.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.

Click play on the video above to watch the first episode in full.