ProSoccerTalk’s MLS Team of the Week – Week 1

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Forwards

Will Bruin, Houston Dynamo – Also known as PST Player of the Week Will Bruin, the Dancing Bear had two goals an an assist in the Dynamo’s 4-0 win over visiting New England.

We could be wrong about: Joao Plata, Real Salt Lake

Midfielders

Sebastián Fernández, Vancouver Whitecaps – Starting wide left in Carl Robinson’s 4-2-3-1, the Uruguayan was a constant presence cutting in underneath Darren Mattocks. He scored the weekend’s best goal, blasting home from well outside the area in Vancouver’s 4-1 win over New York.

Kenny Miller, Vancouver Whitecaps (pictured, above) – With his trademark relentlessness on display, Miller bagged a brace against New York, with his conversion from the spot opening Saturday’s scoring at BC Place.

Federico Higuaín, Columbus Crew – Two goals and his trademark command of Columbus’s counterattack helped Higuaín and the Crew overcome the absence of Dominic Oduro to hand D.C. United a 3-0 opening day loss.

Boniek Garcia, Houston Dynamo – The weekend’s best two-way performance also saw Boniek get on the scoresheet with Houston’s third goal. A Best XI-caliber player gave a Best XI-caliber performance.

Nigel Reo-Coker, Vancouver Whitecaps – The acquisition of Matías Laba allowed Reo-Coker to pursue the gaps in midfield, creating a balance that underpin Vancouver’s postseason hopes. His freedom to get forward was evident on Pedro Morales’ goal.

We could be wrong about: Kyle Beckerman, Real Salt Lake; Mauro Rosales, Chivas USA; Mauro Díaz, FC Dallas; Osvaldo Alonso, Seattle Sounders; Maurice Edu, Philadelphia Union

Defenders

source: APJosh Williams, Columbus Crew – D.C.’s Nick DeLeon did little to hinder the run, but Williams early surge down the right and well-hit cross for Jairo Arrieta allowed the Crew to claim an early lead at RFK. Also helped his team keep a clean sheet, an effort that require him to remain strong when Eddie Johnson drifted to his flank to serve as a target for D.C. long balls.

Chad Marshall, Seattle Sounders – The value he provides on set pieces is already evident, with Marshall’s overall game also hinting he’ll be a significant upgrade to what Seattle took into last year’s playoffs.

Michael Parkhurst, Columbus Crew – Crucial tackles showed the value the U.S. international brings in Marshall’s place. Though he and his teammates were rarely tested by D.C., Parkhurst still showed the talents that could against make him one of Major League Soccer’s best defenders.

Corey Ashe, Houston Dynamo – A great read to create a turnover ahead of a well-served ball meant Ashe played a crucial part in Houston’s second goal. Already with two All-Star appearances, Ashe is off to a strong start in his quest for a third.

We could be wrong about: Amobi Okugo, Philadelphia; Bobby Burling, Chivas USA, Nat Borchers, Real Salt Lake; DeAndre Yedlin, Seattle Sounders

Goalkeeper

Nick Rimando, Real Salt Lake (pictured, with Chris Wingert) – Were it not for one (albeit big) first half mistake, the U.S. international would have been our Player of the Week. Even with that error, Rimando was clearly the week’s best keeper, delivering eight saves and a penalty kick stop in the Western Conference champions’ 1-0 win in Los Angeles.

We could be wrong about: Donovan Ricketts, Portland Timbers

Moore takes hold of West Brom’s promotion bid

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Darren Moore‘s spell as West Brom caretaker manager couldn’t quite pull off a miraculous run to Premier League safety, but the promise it contained has helped him to the first chance at earning promotion back to the top flight.

West Bromwich Albion announced Moore as its new manager on Monday, with the boss promising his Baggies would play attractive football while also being a side “that’s willing to fight and scrap for every ball.”

[ MORE: No World Cup for Chelsea trio ]

Moore is also happy to carry a flame for minority coaches — called BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) — in England.

“If it does inspire others, I would be extremely proud,” he said. “I don’t just speak on behalf of BAME coaches but the young, aspiring British coaches across the board.”

Moore, 44, only lost one of his six PL matches as WBA boss, winning three times and inspiring many to wonder what would’ve happened had the Baggies’ pulled the plug on Alan Pardew — and Tony Pulis before him — earlier.

A center back in his playing career, Moore spent 18 seasons between a number of clubs including West Brom, Derby County, and Doncaster Rovers. He won promotion as a player twice with West Brom, and again with Derby.

Belgium goes to World Cup without Nainggolan

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BRUSSELS (AP) Belgium left midfielder Radja Nainggolan out of its World Cup squad despite a standout season with Champions League semifinalist Roma.

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has long had a difficult relationship with the stormy midfielder. But after being called up for a warm-up game in March against Saudi Arabia, expectations had been that he would be on the 28-man roster announced Monday.

[ MORE: No World Cup for Chelsea trio ]

On top of the troubled relationship, Nainggolan was also the victim of the unparalleled wealth of talent the small nation has produced over the past few years.

Thibaut Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku were all named in the squad, which will be cut to 23 before the World Cup.

Nashville MLS expansion club snares ex-Liverpool CEO Ayre

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Former Liverpool CEO Ian Ayre is moving from Merseyside to the Music City.

The Tennesseean’s Joe Rexrode says Ayre is set to take the reins of Nashville SC as the first CEO in club history when it makes its debut in the 2020 MLS season.

[ MORE: No World Cup for Chelsea trio ]

Liverpool hired ex-EA Sports executive Peter Moore to replace Ayre in 2017 after the latter, 54, spent six years with the club as managing director and then CEO.

From the Tennessean:

“The MLS has huge ambitions to be one of the biggest and leading leagues in the world, and is on that trajectory,” Ayre said. “Both as a soccer fan and an executive in the industry, it’s something I’ve had my eye on because it’s important. … You talk about MLS and its growth, I think it’s becoming easier and will become easier to attract the right talent to something that’s exciting and developing. And if you have a reputation of being involved in a club like Liverpool, you hope that stands for something when you start to try and attract talent.”

The timing of Ayre’s addition hearkens back to that of former Tottenham executive Darren Eales at Atlanta United. If it has the same success, Nashville will be proud.

Report: Lampard interviews twice with Championship club

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Steven Gerrard‘s longtime England midfield mate Frank Lampard could soon be joining him in a management.

While Gerrard is tasked with rebuilding Rangers’ Scottish title push, Lampard’s reported new gig would entail leading Ipswich Town back to the Premier League for the first time since 2002.

[ MORE: No World Cup for Chelsea trio ]

Sky Sports says Lampard has already interviewed twice with Ipswich Town ownership in a bid to earn his first senior management gig.

Lampard, 39, played for Chelsea, Man City, New York City FC, West Ham United, and Swansea in a sparkling 20-year playing career.

Town finished 12th in the Championship, 15 points back of a playoff spot and 19 clear of relegation.