Since rumors broke that San Jose would be acquiring an Argentine playmaker, we’ve done our bit of speculating how Matías Pérez García would fit with Chris Wondolowski at the top of the Earthquakes’ formation. At Friday’s introductory press conference, San Jose gave us a “not so fast,” with `Quakes head coach Mark Watson saying the new Designated Player would likely provide a wide-to-in presence on the right.
“He’s primarily been playing on the right-hand side, coming in and adding numbers to midfield,” Watson said, according to the league’s web site. “The one thing that is pretty reassuring is that, tactically, the way we do things is exactly how it was [for Perez Garcia] in Argentina. So I think there’s a level of comfort there and familiarity, that tactically there’s not a huge change.”
It provides a pretty clear picture of how San Jose will set up. Wondolowski and Yannick Djaló will persist up top, with Steven Lenhart and Alan Gordon (when healthy) mixed in. Shea Salinas will continue on the left, while Pérez García will come in from the right, likely doing much of his damage through the middle of the park.
When that damage starts is a different matter. As of yesterday, Pérez García’s availability was in doubt, with the death of Argentine federation president Julio Grondona slowing down operations in the AFA office. Until Pérez García’s international transfer certificate is received, he can’t play for San Jose.
Even if he is available, it’s a big ask to expect a huge contribution tonight against visiting Seattle, but in front of what’s expected to be a huge crowd at Levi’s Stadium, Mark Watson may be able to provide a brief glimpse of what his team will look like going forward.
Now that Cristiano Ronaldo has taken to sporting a reasonable hairstyle atop his head, people are talking about the foliage on his face.
[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]
Ronaldo, 33, drew speculation when he stroked his chin following a goal in his hat trick performance against Spain in the World Cup opener. Some said he was demonstrating defiance against Lionel Messi posing with a goat (Greatest Of All Time) in a recent photograph.
Ronaldo scored again on Wednesday, and there was seemingly little doubt his goatee was a wink to the speculators. But what did it mean, CR7? From ESPN:
“This goatee? It’s a joke I had with [Ricardo] Quaresma. “We were in the sauna [before Friday’s match against Spain] and I started to shave and I left the goatee. I said if I score tomorrow, I would leave it for the rest of the tournament. And it gave me luck.
“I scored in that game, I scored in this one, so it stays.”
Personally, I like to imagine Ronaldo starting to get as wild with his facial hair as he did his head hair.
Perhaps a beatnik style, or something like Serj Tankian from System of a Down. Get nuts, C-Ron.
Could Southampton be selling one of its most creative forces?
Dusan Tadic, 29, is in the middle of a World Cup run with dark horse Serbia, but the Saints star is also being talked about as a purchase item for Ajax.
[ MORE: Serbia tops Costa Rica ]
The celebrated Eredivisie has traditionally been a selling club for the Premier League, but could be a $20 million buy for Ajax.
The report says director of players Marc Overmars and financial director Jeroen Slop have flown to Southampton to work out a deal.
Tadic starred for Dutch sides Groningen and Twente between 2010-14 before moving to St. Mary’s for a reported $12 million.
He’s scored 24 goals with 35 assists in 162 appearances for Saints, 21 and 30 of which came in the Premier League.
Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono is going to stay Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono.
[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]
The newly-capped USMNT backstop, 24, has been attracting interest from abroad since breaking past Clint Irwin to win the TFC job and guiding the club to multiple MLS Cup Finals.
Now general manager Tim Bezbatchenko has locked down his young goalkeeper to an undisclosed contract extension. From TorontoFC.com:
“Alex was a big part of our success last season. He set club records for wins and clean sheets and was a critical piece of our championship team,” said Toronto FC Sr. Vice-President, Soccer Operations & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Since joining the club as a first round pick in 2015, Alex’s ability to make key saves in big moments has been critical to our success.”
The Syracuse-born product of Syracuse University has made 64 appearances for the Reds.
France, Denmark, and Croatia can clinch knockout round berths on Thursday in Russia, the last nation also holding the opportunity to help deprive the World Cup of an extended Lionel Messi run.
[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]
Messi’s Argentina drew Iceland in its opener, the megastar infamously missing a penalty, and will look to beat a Croatian side that looked quite good in dispatching Nigeria.
That’s the final match of the day, which begins with Denmark facing Australia and continues with a tasty match-up between France and Peru.
Below is Thursday’s schedule in full.
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2018 World Cup schedule – Wednesday, June 20
Denmark vs. Australia: Samara, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
France vs. Peru: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
Argentina vs. Croatia: Nizhny Novgorod, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE