At half: Donovan exits, Diskerud scores, Gyau injured in busy half

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Fate seemed to beg Landon Donovan to score in his final half as a United States. The goal didn’t come, but that didn’t stop his 41st minute exit from being as bittersweet as you’d like.

Running across the field to salute his fans after hugging his teammates and some officials, Donovan shared a moment with his smiling coach Jurgen Klinsmann, with who things have often been just bitter. A minute’s standing ovation from the Connecticut crowd made it nice.

Oh, and the game. The States lead Ecuador 1-0 on an early Mix Diskerud goal.

[ RELATED: Everything Landon Donovan-related from a busy USMNT week ]

Follow the second half live on Soccerly’s match center here

Donovan’s first touch was a pretty one, back heeling an end line runner for DeAndre Yedlin.

[ RELATED: Everything Landon Donovan-related from a busy USMNT week ]

Yedlin turned provider after Jozy Altidore found him in the 18. The Sounders back fed Mix Diskerud, who made no doubt about a fifth-minute finish. It was 1-0 States early.

Joe Gyau nearly set the table for bedlam, finding Donovan only to see the Galaxy striker’s shot dribble wide of the far post. But the Borussia Dortmund youngster’s moment of the game came later, and it wasn’t good.

Gyau came up lame with a left knee injury and immediately called for a sub. He left the field on crutches, his left knee wrapped in ice.

Altidore barely missed making it 2-0 on a great run in the 18th minute.

With time running out on his 30-minute curfew, Donovan missed again when he cranked a shot off the right pipe and couldn’t jab the rebound past Paredes.

Brad Guzan made a fabulous save on Enner Valencia after the Ecuador star striker took advantage of a Timmy Chandler gaffe to race in on goal. The 1v1 shot was parried, and Guzan made another save moments later in the 28th minute.

And in the 38th minute, time well past his exit time, Donovan hit a low shot wide after Altidore went out of his way to find the finale man.

His moment came soon after.

Paredes came up big before halftime after Bobby Wood’s cross was cleared to Yedlin. The Ecuador keeper stopped Yedlin’s close range shot.

Lineups

United States: Guzan, Chandler, Orozco, Brooks, Garza; Yedlin, Bedoya, Diskerud, Gyau (Wood, 21′); Donovan (Corona, 41′), Altidore

Goal: Diskerud (5′)

Subs: Rimando, Gonzalez, Ream, Ibarra, Wondolowski, Morales, Corona, Wood, Gil

Ecuador: Paredes, Cangá, Erazo, Ayoví; R. Ibarra, Castillo, Noboa, Cazares; Penilla, E. Valencia

MLS Best XI unveiled with awesome foosball video

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Major League Soccer, wow, this is terrific #content.

MLS released its Best XI on Monday with a dynamite video of the players passing the ball from Zack Steffen in goal to Josef Martinez up top… via a virtual foosball table.

[ VIDEO: An unprecedented goal ]

The XI is set in a 3-4-3, with the New York Red Bulls, DC United, and Atlanta United leading the way with a pair of players each.

My predictions? Well, I only got six correct. Whoops. The only absence that really surprises me is Graham Zusi, and Sporting KC not having representation at all. I guess that explains why SKC manager Peter Vermes is going to be announced as the next USMNT– Wait, what’s that? Oh. I’ll stop talking.

2018 MLS Best XI

Goalkeeper: Zack Steffen (Columbus)

Defenders: Kemar Lawrence (RBNY), Aaron Long (RBNY), Chad Marshall (Seattle)

Midfielders: Miguel Almiron (Atlanta), Luciano Acosta (DC), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal), Carlos Vela (LAFC)

Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy), Josef Martinez (Atlanta), Wayne Rooney (DC)

WATCH: Striker scores potentially unprecedented goal while helping teammate

Photo by John Thys/EuroFootball/Getty Images
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“Look, I know you’re injured, but I’m gonna be right back. Got a goal to score for us.”

Maccabi Petah Tikva forward Habib Habibou scored what can only be described as an unprecedented goal — at least in terms of being captured on video — Israel this weekend.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings ]

Habibou, 31, and his club were locked in scoreless tussle with Maccabi Netanya on Saturday when one of his teammates was injured in the box.

The CAR striker, formerly of Zulte Waregem and Royal Charleroi, was taking care of said teammate when he spotted an 87th minute spilled rebound.

What was he gonna do, really, other than dart onto the loose ball, score the match-winner, and then return to his ailing mate?

Petah Tikva won 1-0.

Juventus executive: Bring season Serie A game abroad

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Juventus chief revenue officer Giorgio Ricci likes La Liga’s idea of taking a regular season match outside of its domestic borders.

Ricci would like Serie A to explore a similar move, saying Italian soccer can only benefit from putting its brand in other markets.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings ]

Serie A lags behind other top European league in TV money, which has hindered its ability to recruit top end talent relative to its competitors.

Ricci says if American sports see value in bringing their top leagues to Europe, it holds that the reverse would be true. From the BBC:

“If we look at some other more developed leagues in terms of commercial strategy; the NBA and NFL, they are exporting one or two of their matches abroad, to the UK or elsewhere in Europe. I think it is a good strategy. It is a way to export something that is not an exhibition.”

Would a regular season match bring any more eyes or attention than the International Champions Cup, at least enough to offset the sacrifice of atmosphere? It seems doubtful, but the money is the key here. Italy wants to catch up with Spain, Germany, and England.

FC Cincinnati switches crest ahead of MLS debut

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FC Cincinnati has unveiled its crest for 2019’s maiden voyage in Major League Soccer.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings ]

Sticking with the orange and blue color combination which has served them since inception, the shield has FC in the top left corner, Cincinnati running diagonally left-to-right in blue script on white, and a winged lion holding a sword as the primary icon.

FCC will draft up to five current MLS players in the Expansion Draft on Dec. 11. Teams will announce their protected lists on Dec. 10.

Cincinnati will play in the Eastern Conference. It won the USL regular season championship under coach Alan Koch in 2018.