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.

Haiti stuns Costa Rica to claim Group B at Gold Cup

AP Photo/Julio Cortez
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Poetic justice, put it in a Song.

Haiti’s Djimy Alexis made up for his early own goal by scoring a deserved winner as Haiti won Group B of the Gold Cup with an upset of Costa Rica on Monday.

[ ROUNDUPS: AFCON | Copa America ]

Los Ticos got everything they could handle from the upstart Gombey Warriors, who are now 3-0 on the tournament, and the World Cup mainstays tossed aside their early lead to meet Mexico in the quarterfinals.

Haiti will challenge Canada in the quarters, guaranteeing the semifinals an intriguing participant.

An early own goal had Costa Rica in control, but Duckens Nason’ 16th international goal was a part of a hard charge from the Haitians in the second half.

The other match saw Bermuda earn a 2-0 win over Nicaragua via goals from Lejuan Simmons and QPR’s Nakhi Wells. That gives the Gombey Warriors a 1-2 record while dropping Nicaragua to 0-3.

Bermuda was ranked 174th by FIFA to Nicaragua’s 129, but that will certainly change next month.

AFCON wrap: Diaby’s sensational rip highlights trio of matches

(Photo by Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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The Africa Cup of Nations said hello to six more competitors on Monday, with a thrilling goal amongst the eight tallied across the competitions in Egypt.

[ MORE: Copa America roundup ]


Mali 4-1 Mauritania

Two different men named Adama Traore — neither of them the Wolves winger — joined Moussa Marega on the score sheet but it’s difficult to describe the class and small margins that defined the tournament’s goal of the day.

Sporting Lisbon’s Abdoulay Diaby somehow got this shot off through two defenders and into the upper reaches of the goal to open the scoring in the three-goal win for Mali, which is having some summer when you take into account the U-20 World Cup.

Ivory Coast 1-0 South Africa

There were only 13 total attempts in the game, and Aston Villa’s Jonathan Kodija scored the lone goal of a tournament opening win for Les Elephants.

Tunisia 1-1 Angola

A draw was probably fair, as Youssef Msakni’s first half penalty was met by Djalma Campos’ late goal to split the spoils in Group E.

Copa America roundup: Uruguay tops Chile; Full knockout bracket

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Ecuador and Japan drew to allow Paraguay to sew up the final knockout round spot, sending Miguel Almiron and Co. into a match-up with Brazil.

[ MORE: Johannsson to MLS? ]

And Uruguay rode Edinson Cavani’s goal into the other side of the bracket, moving ahead of Chile in a tight match.

Ecuador 1-1 Japan

There was a lot to like in a match with 30-plus shots and the ultimate prize of a match-up with Brazil on Thursday in Porto Alegre.

Shoya Nakajima put the Asian side ahead a quarter-hour into the match, but Angel Mena provided an equalizer before halftime to put both sides in danger of failure to reach the knockout rounds.

Chile 0-1 Uruguay

Cavani scored for the second time this tournament as Uruguay claimed first place in Group A and a knockout round meeting with Peru.

Cavani’s deftly flicked header of a Jonathan Rodriguez pass pushed Uruguay above Chile, which had won both of its group matches and now meets Colombia on Friday.

Knockout round schedule

June 27
Brazil v. Paraguay

June 28
Venezuela v. Argentina
Colombia v. Chile

June 29
Uruguay v. Peru

July 2
Brazil/Paraguay v. Venezuela/Argentina
Colombia/Chile v. Uruguay/Peru

July 6
Third place playoff

July 7
Final

Norwich City adds Switzerland international Drmic on free transfer

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Norwich City has added a new star striker to a unit which produced 93 goals in the Championship last season.

Josip Drmic will join Swiss national teammate Timm Klose with the Canaries for the next three seasons, hoping to bring his Bundesliga and international experience to a Premier League safety campaign.

[ MORE: Johannsson to MLS? ]

Drmic turns 27 next month, and scored two goals in five appearances for Borussia Monchengladbach last season. He has 31 goals and seven assists in 107 Bundesliga appearances between Gladbach, Hamburger SV, Bayer Leverkusen, and Nurnberg.

Coach Daniel Farke got 30 goals from target forward Teemu Pukki, who plays a similar role to Drmic and has plenty of top flight experience with Celtic and Schalke amongst others.

Drmic can also operate on the wing, usually left over right, and has featured in both the 2014 and 2018 World Cup. From Canaries.co.uk:

“I’m going to do everything and give 100% on the pitch. I will be ready to give everything for the club. My job is scoring but I also want to help my team and help us be successful.

“When I first came to Norwich, the first thing I noticed was how kind everybody was. It’s given me a lot of positive energy and I’m excited to see what happens.”

Between Pukki and Drmic, Norwich can have faith that its well-prepared to have an answer up top.