PST’s MLS Player of the Week: Heavy on Eastern Conference nominees

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Regardless of where you fall out on the whole Garber v. Klinsmann debate — I totally understand JK’s point in regards to Bradley, for the record — there’s very little debate as to whether the talent in MLS should force the USMNT coach to keep his eyes trained on his domestic league.

And while this paragraph is meant to draw your attention to this week’s PST MLS player of the week, there were plenty of players, Yanks and other, competing for the award.

Let’s begin with the overseas nominees (that rhymes):

Let’s start with English attacker Giles Barnes, who just keeps performing in Houston. Sure, his follow-up finish to give the Dynamo a lead over New England had a lot to do with a Revs defender’s decision to stop marking the hustling Barnes, but he has goals in three straight and six tallies since Sept. 6.

[ UEFA: Moscow striker calls out “weak” Man City ]

Seattle and L.A. played a 2-2 thriller in Carson to set up a Supporters Shield decider in Washington this weekend, and Obafemi Martins was the force that put the control in Sounders hands. Setting up goals for Clint Dempsey and Lamar Neagle, the former Newcastle United striker was simply dominant. And let’s not forget Bosnian playmaker Baggio Husidic, whose first half goal and assist got lost in the hubbub of Seattle’s comeback.

Now to the States:

How good was Ethan Finlay? The 24-year-old Columbus Crew midfielder was a human highlight reel in setting up a pair of goals and scoring another in a 3-1 win at Red Bull Arena. It began with his feed to Aaron Schoenfeld to open the scoring, continued with his latching onto a pretty Tony Tchani ball for a neat finish, and finished with a flash: neat combination ball with Federico Higuaín to set up Schoenfeld for the third.

By the way: Whatever Cameroon is thinking by not using Tchani — his choice? — is the wrong way to go about things as a national team. The 6-foot-4 midfielder did wondrous things in the build-up to Finlay’s goal and has been splendid all year long. Is he eligible for the USMNT yet?

[ MLS: Fire upbeat despite no playoffs ]

In any event, watch the video and do… not…. sleep… on… Columbus:

While literally any one of those Columbus three could make a case for PST’s POTW honors, how about Lee Nguyen?

The 28-year-old New England Revolution star has been absolute dynamite for his club this season, but hasn’t been capped since 2007 (under Bob Bradley). And he goes his own way — not quite Landon Donovan-style but close — having dropped off the USMNT roster seemingly because he chose to leave Denmark to play in Vietnam when he was 23.

Nguyen scored both of the Revs goals to top Houston this weekend and send the hot club further up the Eastern Conference hierarchy. The first capped off a string of world-class work, from the pass of Jermaine Jones to the run of Kevin Ralston to the slippery move Nguyen used to set up his Upper-90 blast.

Was it better work than Finlay? We’re saying yes by the slimmest of margins. We’re talking as fine as the garlic Paulie Cicero chops for his jailhouse sauce in “Goodfellas”. Clutch from both sides, but Nguyen prevails.

VIDEO: Breaking down some celebrated Premier League derbies

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The kickoffs aren’t coming back soon, so we’re finding solace in anticipating the biggest matches on the Premier League calendar.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Certain rivalries are circled on the fixture list when it arrives each summer, the sort of games that seem to level the playing field regardless of the gulf in class.

Is Arsenal struggling? No better way to bounce back than Spurs.

Liverpool sliding a bit? It’ll snap back to form when Everton hits Anfield.

PST lead writer and editor Joe Prince-Wright has prepped up for several of these derbies over the years, and here’s a cheat sheet for those new and a tasty summation for those missing their hated foes.

Liverpool-Manchester City

Arsenal-Tottenham Hotspur

Liverpool-Everton

Manchester City-Manchester United

Chelsea-Tottenham Hotspur

Bournemouth’s Howe takes voluntary pay cut, first PL manager to do so

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Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe is the first Premier League manager to take a pay cut due to the coronavirus suspension.

Howe joins Bournemouth chief executive Neill Blake, first team technical director Richard Hughes, and assistant manager Jason Tindall in taking “significant, voluntary” pay cuts.

Howe is the longest-serving manager in the PL. He started with Bournemouth’s academy in 1994 and spent just a few short seasons away from home (Portsmouth and Swindon Town) during his playing career.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

The club has also furloughed employees throughout the organization. From a Bournemouth statement:

There is no script for moments like this. No tactics and no set plays to find a winning formula. But as a board we are continually looking at ways to ensure the future of the club and our employees is protected when the season returns.

We have also advised a number of staff across all areas of the club that they will be temporarily furloughed, as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

These measures have been taken to safeguard the financial stability of the club during what is such an uncertain period, not only in football but for businesses in all industries across the world.

Surely Howe won’t be the last during this uncertain time for clubs and businesses all over the world.

Ex-Marseille president first coronavirus-related death in Senegal

Pape Diouf
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DAKAR, Senegal (AP) Pape Diouf, a former president of French soccer club Marseille, died Tuesday in Senegal after contracting the coronavirus. It was the West African country’s first COVID-19-related death, according to the health ministry. He was 68.

Diouf, who was president of Marseille from 2005-09, had been treated since Saturday in intensive care in Dakar, health minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr said.

Senegal President Macky Sall wrote on his official Twitter account that he had followed Diouf’s health closely after he was admitted for treatment.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

“I pay tribute to this great figure in sport,” Sall wrote. “I pay tribute to the medical staff at Fann Hospital who spared no effort to save him.”

Relatives said Diouf was meant to be moved to France. He had recently traveled to several countries in the West Africa region.

In its most recent count, Senegal has reported 190 cases of the coronavirus, with 45 of those having recovered.

Diouf was a charismatic and popular leader who was close to the fans and players at Marseille, the only French team to win the European club title.

“Pape will forever remain in the hearts of Marseille people and (is) one of the great architects of the club,” Marseille wrote under a photo of Diouf.

Shortly before his time at the club ended, Diouf signed Didier Deschamps as the new coach and Deschamps won the French league title and League Cup in his first season in charge. It was Marseille’s first league title in 18 years.

Deschamps, who coached France to World Cup success two years ago, described Diouf as “a man of convictions, a spirited man, passionate about football” adding that his “sudden and brutal death deeply saddens me.”

“I could measure his popularity, which was immense with the Marseille people whose hearts he had won,” Deschamps said on L’Equipe’s website.

The French soccer league called Diouf’s death “a moment of immense sadness for French soccer.”

Diouf was born in Chad to Senegalese parents. After arriving in Marseille at the age of 18, he became a sports journalist and then a players’ agent.

Diouf was not afraid to take risks in signing unheralded players, such as the diminutive Mathieu Valbuena from third-tier side Libourne in 2006 when he was 21.

The 1.67-meter (5 feet, 5 inches) Valbuena went on to prove Diouf right, and all the doubters wrong, playing 52 times for France.

“A great man with a great heart,” Valbuena said. “We were hypnotized by his speeches, he had a lot of charisma.”

Diouf was awarded the French Legion of Honor medal in 2012, one of the country’s highest honors.

Pugmire reported from Paris. AP reporter Babacar Dione in Dakar, Senegal contributed.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Report: Griezmann plus cash could finally get Neymar back to Barcelona

Neymar
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Neymar’s long-rumored return to Barcelona hasn’t quite reached the point of exhaustion, but it’s close.

A new report has said Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain may be coming to terms with what’s been a fairly obvious swap deal for some time.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

According to Sky Sports, PSG would send Neymar to Barcelona in return for French hero Antoine Griezmann and money.

The $167 million price tag attached to Neymar is significantly more than the $110 million on Griezmann, and there’s no doubt the former is more of a gamechanger at this point on their careers.

While Neymar gets both the #whenhealthy and #whenavailable tags to his rep, he’s scored 18 times with 10 assists in 22 matches across all competitions this year.

Before the full phrase ‘Ligue 1’ exits your lips, he’s scored against Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Celtic, Galatasaray, Liverpool, Anderlecht, and Red Star Belgrade in his three seasons with PSG.

Griezmann is a full year older than Neymar and, while one of the world’s elite attackers, he’s a step below the Brazilian’s tier. He’s also said to want to keep finding his way at Barca, with Gerard Pique and others ready to lend support.