Fredy Montero scores again, leads Portugal in goals, has Sporting Lisbon in second place (Video)

3 Comments

Heading home Sporting Lisbon’s opener in the 51st minute at Olhanense, Fredy Montero recorded his sixth goal of the Portuguese season on Sunday. Sporting went on to post a 2-0 win, now sit second behind Porto with 10 points through four games, and have seen their preseason acquisition from Colombia surge to the top of the league’s scoring charts. In four appearances, Montero’s scored six times.

This goal was a bit of a gimme, an interesting attempt at zonal marking seeing Olhanense’s line fail to drop enough to make up the space between themselves and Montero. André Martins, who went on to scored Sporting’s second, also deserves a lot of credit for an excellent ball, but between poor defending, some possible tentativeness from the goalkeeper, or (the biggest culprit) a dubious non-call from the linesman, Fredy had it easy on this one:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMr244ONowI]

You think Sporting Lisbon’s going to hesitate to pick up that $3.3 million buy clause? The Seattle Sounder is technically on loan to the Lisbon club, but with this hot start, he may be as good as gone.

It creates a bittersweet if misleading situation as it concerns the MLS view of this. When a player like Montero — highly successful but also highly under-appreciated in MLS — has this kind of success, some ask why the league couldn’t keep this kind of talent, particularly when the buy clause won’t break any records for league transfer fees.

Reality, however has seen Montero’s time in Seattle run its course. Both sides had their reasons for taking the next step. Seattle, leading the Western Conference, has done fine without their star, although it’s difficult to argue they wouldn’t be just as well off with him. Montero, on the other hand, has finally made the leap to Europe, something he’d opening talked about during his final season with the Sounders.

As a result, a the group of Seattle fans that stayed loyal to this franchise’s best player can take some pride in what one of their favorites is doing in Portugal. Others may be rethinking some of the nitpicking Montero was subjected to during his time in MLS.

Italian soccer federation signs deal with Chinese government

Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

WATCH: Asprilla scores terrific bicycle kick on USL cameo

Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.

Report: Bayern, BVB ready to buy Keita from Liverpool

Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.

EURO qualifying: Hungary stings Croatia, Israel hangs 4 on Austria

Photo by Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.

Elsewhere
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