Orlando City SC 1-1 New York City FC: Wild finish as Kaka nets late equalizer

4 Comments

One game in 100 words (or less): Orlando City SC had this game at their fingertips as they had managed possession very well. But their inability to create scoring sequences and net the deciding goal allowed New York City the chance to capture the 1-0 lead in the second half. Orlando managed to luckily draw level in stoppage time and escape out with a point regardless. Both Kaka and David Villa had notable impacts, while overall, the match showed a more sustained effort from the home team. New York remained alert to capitalize on their positive moments, though.

Goals

Orlando: Ricardo Kaka 90’ + 1’

NYC: Mix Diskerud 76’

Three moments that mattered:

1. Kaka’s free-kick deflection for the draw— Nearly all hope would have been lost for Orlando, but this historic MLS fixture wouldn’t end on a typical note. Time was running out. Kaka stepped up to take a free kick opportunity and rocketed his strike off Jeb Brovsky’s chest. Somehow, the powerful endeavor dribbled into the back of the net after the ricochet, and goalie Josh Saunders had little time to react.

2. Mix drills curler — For NYCFC, two of its signings from European clubs, David Villa and Mix Diskerud, combined to grab the first goal of the match in the 76th minute. Moving inside from the left, Villa edged into the penalty box and then flicked a short pass to the USMNT regular, who whipped in a low curling shot that fizzed by goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts. This was a very opportunistic goal from NYC, and it completely stunned the crowd at the Citrus Bowl.

3. Collin sent off — The final fifteen minutes of play had clearly swung in New York’s favor, especially after Aurelien Collin was given the red card for his aggressive challenge on Villa near the center of the pitch. The call was not very disputable, as the Frenchman slid hard with his studs in the air. Down to ten men, Orlando was forced to stay firm for the match’s remainder with one less defender.

Lineups

Orlando: Donovan Ricketts; Rafael Ramos, Aurelien Collin, Seb Hines, Brek Shea; Amobi Okugo, Crisitan Higuita, Kevin Molino, Kaka, Lewis Neal (Bryan Rochez 80’); Carlos Rivas (Sean St. Ledger 90’+3’)

NYC: Josh Saunders; Josh Williams, Josh Hernandez, Chris Wingert, Jeb Brovsky; Mehdi Ballouchy (Khiry Shelton 62’), Andrew Jacobson, Mix Diskerud (Sebastian Velasquez 88’), Ned Grabavoy; David Villa, Adam Nemec (Javier Calle 89’)

USMNT prospect Ledezma earns praise from van Nistelrooy

Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Even for talents of the highest levels with top soccer education, sometimes a kid’s gotta learn how to eat.

Richard “Richie” Ledezma, 18, is in the midst of his first year at Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven, a spot which beckoned after a five-match, one-goal season in the USL with Real Monarchs of the USL.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

Ledezma starred for U.S. U-20 team at the World Cup after his first half-season with PSV, which saw him play with the U-19s while trying to lose some weight.

From Goal.com:

“PSV help me with my nutrition, with my food and how I eat. It’s the quantity of food you eat, I guess,” he added. “Because I came a little chubby, when I got here, I guess. They all called me ‘fatty’ and stuff, so I was like, cool, you know? So no more McDonald’s.”

Goal’s James Westwood had a wide-ranging interview with Ledezma and also spoke with soccer royalty: longtime Real Madrid and Manchester United scorer Ruud van Nistelrooy was Ledezma’s coach with the U-19s.

“He’s making a difference in midfield with very quick-thinking passes, movement, can score a goal, play people in, he’s creating chances for the whole team.”

That’s not just good praise from a legend, but a solid sign for fans of the United States men’s national team. A proper No. 10 or playmaking midfielder could allow Gregg Berhalter or another future USMNT coach to use Christian Pulisic on the wings.

Ledezma has some work to do before he breaks into the first team of the Dutch runners-up, who have signed former Stoke City man Ibrahim Afellay and has Gaston Pereiro in the fold as well.

Newcastle reportedly in for $28M mercurial Nice attacker

VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Leave a comment

L’Equipe says that Newcastle United have returned to Nice in the hopes of landing Allan Saint-Maximin.

The Ligue 1 outfit wants $28 million for the playmaker, who could team up with Miguel Almiron and (maybe) Joelinton to give the Magpies a much-improved attack.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

Saint-Maximin, 22, has 10 goals and 10 assists across his last two seasons with Nice, and played everywhere in attack for Patrick Vieira: both wings, center forward, second striker, attacking mid… even some left and right midfield.

The player, however, has been a headache for Vieira at times, with the manager saying Saint-Maximin believes that he has enough talent to reach the highest level without the required amount of work.

That said, the youngster’s skill set is electric. He’s a March birth date, too, so a relatively young 22. That $28 million would be another transfer record broken for Newcastle, assuming it happens ahead of the Joelinton move.

Or… as Newcastle fan knows, neither could go through.

Clark County “declines to prosecute” Ronaldo for rape

Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images
1 Comment

Cristiano Ronaldo will not face sexual assault charges for a June 2009 incident in the United States, attorneys say.

An American woman filed a civil lawsuit against the Juventus superstar last year, claiming that Ronaldo forced himself upon her while she was in a prone position in his hotel room.

[ MORE: Bayern keen on Zaha ]

Ronaldo had expressed belief that he would be cleared of the claims, and claimed that graphic documents produced by German publication Der Spiegel were altered and fabricated.

Las Vegas police issued a warrant in a bid to get Ronaldo’s DNA, and the DA’s office says the woman’s refusal to name her attacker stopped them for collecting “vital evidence.” The woman reached a civil settlement with Ronaldo in 2010.

From News3LV.com:

“Based upon a review of the information presented at this time, the allegations of sexual assault against Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” the D.A.’s office said. “Therefore, no charges will be forthcoming.”

Bayern Munich kicking the tires on big Zaha bid

Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

A sensational report is linking Wilfried Zaha not just with a move away from Crystal Palace, but a move clear of the Premier League altogether.

90min.com says that Bayern Munich has turned to Zaha, having been rebuffed in their pursuit of Manchester City’s Leroy Sane.

Palace wants $100 million for Zaha, but so far has only received a $50 million offer from Arsenal for his services. Reports Monday said Arsenal is upping its bid, and offering a loan of Reiss Nelson as a make-good. Palace has had good Fortune with loans from the big boys of the PL, in particular with Ruben Loftus-Cheek two seasons ago.

A lot of this makes sense for all parties, apart from Sane, and it will be interesting to see if the report brings a bigger bid from the Gunners.

Zaha is a sensational player, and has created chances year-after-year for the Eagles. He wants to taste the Champions League, but Palace is not willing to let him go for (much) less than its asking price given its sale of Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Manchester United.

Bayern will spend less on Zaha than it would on Gareth Bale or Sane, and get a determined player who is very much in his prime. Zaha would also get the chance to showcase himself with actual breathing room on the pitch, thanks to Serge Gnabry, Robert Lewandowski, and others.

And Palace, of course, will end up with between $80-100 million and the knowledge that it won’t need to mark Zaha on a Premier League pitch. More importantly, the money raised from Zaha and Wan-Bissaka will allow them to strengthen at nearly every position (above what they have now, not above AWB and Zaha).