Rounding up a remarkably newsy week in Major League Soccer

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Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe becoming official as the newest wow-wow transfers was the big whale of news in Major League Soccer, but there were a lot of sizable fish otherwise swimming around the league pool this week. Let’s recap:

(By the way, most teams will be in training camp or about to report by this time next week.)

By Monday, some of the sizzle of surprise had dissipated from the big news, that high-profile, high-priced transfers Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe were bound for Toronto FC. But there was still plenty of meat on the bone as the press conference to introduce the new MLS pair played out.

Suddenly, TFC is worth watching again around MLS, eh? We covered the story from all angles at PST. (Including this one, wherein I went to whuppin’ on the soccer snobs out there who have bemoaned Bradley’s move into MLS.

Another U.S. international is trying to elbow his way back into MLS. Richard Farley looked at the financial implication of Maurice Edu’s potential return here. And there was more to say about the burgeoning kerfuffle here.

During one of his draft day chats, MLS commissioner Don Garber said the announcement on Miami joining MLS is likely coming in early February.

Golden Boot winner Camilo (Vancouver Whitecaps) left for Mexican Liga MX side Querétaro. This was a complete mess, a bizarre bit launched when Camilo (officially Camilo Sanvezzo, but he’s Brazilian, so you know … ) posted a photo of himself in a Queretaro shirt, apparently goosing the Vancouver Whitecaps and MLS into a transfer, whether they really wanted to or not.

As talented scribe Andrew Wiebe said via Twitter, the “best possible result from the whole Camilo debacle is he goes to Liga MX and tears it up, justifying transfer value for himself other MLSers.” Well said, sir.

In the MLS Draft, a goalkeeper was selected No. 1 overall for the first time – UConn’s Andre Blake went to Philly, which traded up one spot to get him. ProSoccerTalk’s Nicholas Mendola caught up with the impressive young man here.

Who really nailed it, draft-wise? We declared D.C. United the winner around here (by a close margin over New England.)

Speaking of talented young men, Juan Agudelo is bound for Europe after all, signed by Stoke City (as we thought) but bound immediately for a loan. (Remember, he was denied a work permit to play for Stoke.) So he’s bound for the Dutch Eredivisie and FC Utrecht. (Related, we still don’t know how they play soccer in those doggone wooden shoes!)

FCD will officially introduce Oscar Pareja on Tuesday. This comes a few days after the new coach made draft day news by taking a man who moved way up in draft value during the recent, Tesho Akindele.

U.S. international Michael Parkhurst is making an MLS return, back to the league that helped him get into higher-paying Scandinavian soccer. Later in the week, Crew manager Gregg Berhalter answered the question on many minds: the guy will be a center back, not a right back (as he was for the national team).

Finally, and only partially about MLS: The United States national team, currently doing the business in Brazil, announced a match against Ukraine for May. Look for 10-12 MLS men to make that trip.

Saint-Maximin absence to ask more of struggling Almiron, Joelinton

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Newcastle United lightning bolt Allan Saint-Maximin is going to miss a month with a hamstring injury suffered late in the Magpies’ 2-1 defeat of Southampton at St. James’ Park.

The ebullient Saint-Maximin played deep into the match despite a minor injury, and was on of the main reasons Newcastle won. He helped set up the winning goal, but left the stadium on crutches.

That left Steve Bruce questioning his decision to keep “ASM” in the match.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Now the electric Frenchman is set to miss fixtures against Burnley, Crystal Palace, Manchester United, Everton, Leicester City, and an FA Cup third round match versus either Boston United or Rochdale.

Saint-Maximin’s absence will hurt Newcastle all-around, but especially when its counter-attack tries to take down bigger sides. His 4.5 dribbles per match makes him one of just three players in the Premier League with more than 3.1 (Adama Traore and Wilfried Zaha).

Ultimately, though, this could provide struggling Joelinton more looks at performing on the wing opposite of Miguel Almiron. The Brazilian will have to work center forward at times as Andy Carroll certainly can’t go every game, and Dwight Gayle, Christian Atsu, and Yoshinori Muto could also be asked to play prominent roles.

And, of course, this will demand much more from industrious but sloppy Miguel Almiron, whose expected goal total is 2.5 (he has zero).

Sessegnon beats Neuer to score first Spurs, Champions League goal

Photo by Peter Kneffel/picture alliance via Getty Images)Photo by Peter Kneffel/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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Ryan Sessegnon has his first Spurs goal, which also happens to be his first UEFA Champions League goal, and he’ll love telling the tale of it.

The 19-year-old Englishman ripped a rocket past Manuel Neuer of all people, collecting a deflection to equalize early in Tottenham’s match against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Sessegnon entered the day with an assist in 30 minutes spread across three appearances for Spurs, and needed just 20 more minutes to find a goal.

He made a big money move from Fulham this summer, having made a remarkable 120 senior appearances. Almost all of those came before he turned 19, and he’s scored 25 times with 18 assists.

Kingsley Coman has Bayern’s goal as the teams remain locked at 1 after Bayern hung 7 on Spurs in England earlier in the group stage.

 

Jesus hat-trick downs Dinamo Zagreb, Atalanta qualifies for knockouts

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Manchester City looked sluggish again, but Gabriel Jesus made sure it didn’t matter.

The Brazilian cropped up at a critical juncture for Pep Guardiola, sending Manchester City through into the knockout stage on a winning note as his hat-trick sealed a 4-1 come-from-behind victory that knocked Dinamo Zagreb from European competition altogether.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

The first half was especially lackluster for the English visitors to Stadion Maksimir in Zagreb, with lots of possession but little to show for it. The hosts went in front early on, punishing Man City on the counter on a fabulous volleyed finish from former Barcelona youth product Dani Olmo.

That was the best goal of the day, but Man City picked itself up and pulled back level before the break, with Jesus grabbing his first via a header as Dinamo Zagreb shut off, screaming for Man City to put the ball out with a Zagreb player down. The visitors rightly did not, and Dinamo was punished by the equalizer.

After halftime, Man City was much better, hammering the left flank to take a commanding lead. The second came on excellent work by Jesus in the box to shake a defender and finish with his right, while the third flew in minutes later on a pinpoint Benjamin Mendy cross that Jesus met with a flying karate kick. Pep Guardiola had one eye on the festive fixtures, withdrawing Jesus soon after the hour mark, replaced by Oleksandr Zinchenko who curiously took Jesus’s place at the striker position.

Phil Foden was the best Manchester City player throughout, and finished off the scoreline with seven minutes to go. An excellent buildup down the right saw Bernardo Silva sprung through, and he cut back to Foden at the top of the six-yard box who slid to meet the ball with pace and poke home the cherry on top.

Elsewhere, Atalanta topped Shakhtar Donetsk 3-0 in the Ukraine on goals by Timothy Castagne, Mario Pasalic, and Robin Gosens, meaning the Italians secured the second spot in Group A, qualifying for the knockout stage. The Ukranians were left dead in the water after right-back Dodo was sent off 13 minutes from time, leading to the second goal to seal things up. Atalanta’s advancement marks a stunning comeback given the Italian side failed to secure points in any of their first three group stage matches.

That left Shakhtar in third, dropping to the Europa League, while Dinamo Zagreb was left at the bottom of the group, on the outside looking in.

Charlotte MLS club files trademarks for eight potential names

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It is being heavily reported that Charlotte is the next city to earn a club in the rapidly expanding Major League Soccer landscape, and Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper has taken the next step towards that possibility.

The new club needs a name, and they appear to be nearing a selection. Tepper filed for eight different name trademarks, according to multiple reports, including The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue who confirmed the filings were made under Tepper’s Panthers address.

Here is the list of names he filed copyright requests for:

“Charlotte FC” would be a bare-bones and generic name that follows in the footsteps of recent MLS expansion clubs such as Orlando City SC, NYCFC or LAFC. Others are a little more colorful, including “Carolina Gliders FC” or “Charlotte Monarchs FC,” while a few others like “Charlotte Town FC” or “Charlotte Athletic FC” clearly call forth thoughts of smaller English clubs.

Rodrigue speculated that the relative lack of “Carolina” encompassing names is potentially due to the possibility of an expansion bid from Raleigh down the road, and a Carolina team would potentially provide an unnecessary roadblock to that future prospect. There is a clear lack of region-encompassing names in Major League Soccer, with “New England Revolution” the only example, and there’s no real reason to break that mold with another potential bid city down the road.

Which name is your favorite? What would you have gone with if you could name the club?