Is this the goal that gives Marco Di Vaio the MLS Golden Boot? (Video)

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Marco Di Vaio’s 20th goal in an increasingly special season around Stade Saputo this year did a couple of things:

First, and most importantly, it was the critical equalizer Saturday at Stade Saputo against Philadelphia. And without the equalizer, Montreal would not have been in position to claim the late game-winner … a goal that will go a long way to getting Marco Schallibaum’s team into the 2013 playoffs.

Montreal’s 2-1 win over the Union did not clinch a playoff spot, but it left the Impact men in a much better place than when they arrived into Stade Saputo early Saturday afternoon.

Both Impact goals were vital in helping Montreal shake the pitiful funk that has dragged down the team lately at home; the Impact had lost three in a row at Stade Saputo going into Saturday’s important contest, one with lots of playoff implications.

More on the match later. For now we can wonder: Was this the goal that gives Marco Di Vaio the MLS Golden Boot? It was No. 20 this year for the Italian veteran.

Chicago’s Mike Magee has two contests left to pull even; he is one back, with 19 goals. Vancouver’s Camilo is two behind the pace with 18 goals. He has two matches remaining, as well.

Remember, we told you before that 20-goal seasons in MLS are pretty special animals, not very common at all.

As you think about that, enjoy Di Vaio’s 20th on a pretty special season that he has assembled around Stade Saputo:

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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.