Sigi Schmid fumes at Portland’s tough-tackling as Seattle’s Clint Dempsey dislocates shoulder

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On Sunday night at JELD-WEN Field, robust tackles and last-ditch defending was the name of the game, as Portland ground out a crucial 1-0 win over Cascadia rivals Seattle in a rambunctious affair in PDX.

And that’s putting it mildly.

From the first whistle Seattle and Portland went at it, big time, and that commitment boiled over into several over zealous challenges, one of which saw Timbers midfielder Diego Chara take out Clint Dempsey in the 19th minute. The USMNT captain hit the ground hard, with his left shoulder taking the bulk of the impact. Initially Dempsey dislocated the joint, but after getting it strapped up and playing on for 77 bruising minutes, the official diagnosis is a sprain on his AC joint.

(MORE: Alhassan goal, ‘let them play’ officiating defines ugly Portland-Seattle derby- Video)

Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid was not a happy man speaking to reporters after the game.

source: AP
Chara’s late challenge dislocates Dempsey’s shoulder, as a typically rambunctious Cascadia Cup clash played out

“He tried to play on, play through it and Chará commits four fouls in the first half and never gets carded,” Schmid said. “I think that’s a key turning point in the game. You look at the times Dempsey got fouled, that crap has got to stop. The referee has to protect him and they don’t. It doesn’t matter if a foul is early in the game or late in the game.”

He has a point.

Referee Hilario Grajeda let the game flow, but the fact that he didn’t call out plenty of hefty challenges lead to discrepancies escalating throughout the clash, which eventually led to Osvaldo Alonso sent off for a straight red card for elbowing Will Johnson in the face. That was a deserved red card, as the famous red mist descended on Alonso in the heat of the battle. And what a battle it was. Alonso will now face a lengthy suspension, while despite all his passion, Adam Moffat failed to get things going in Seattle’s engine room. The Timbers definitely won the battle in midfield.

Despite the Timbers prevailing, a draw was probably a fair result after the Sounders twice hit the crossbar through Dempsey and Steve Zakuani. Yet with Dempsey nursing yet another injury and possibly adding his name to Seattle’s long-list of absentees, the Sounders are limping towards the playoffs with a banged up squad and Sigi Schmid all fired up.

Expect more fiery affairs like Sunday nights clash in the postseason, Portland proved they have grinders like Johnson and Chara to win the battle and rattle the opponents. Can Seattle dig deep to grind out wins? Or will we hear more complaints from Schmid in yet another postseason collapse?

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.