MLS preview: Red Bulls vs. Revs, NYCFC vs. Toronto FC headline Week 19

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Week 19 of the 2015 Major League Soccer season is upon us, and though the Gold Cup is ongoing and the MLS schedule continues to roll right along as if nothing anywhere else is happening, this weekend’s games aren’t looking so bad. There’s playoff-team-on-playoff-team action everywhere you look.

Predictions record through Week 18: 30-37

So, if you’re to watch just four MLS games this weekend — who am I to tell you to watch only four games? — might I suggest the following four:

New York Red Bulls vs. New England Revolution (Saturday, 7 pm ET, MLS Live)

The Revs are hurting — I mean, hurting — without Jermaine Jones in the lineup. They’ve lost four straight by a combined score of 9-3. Meanwhile, the Red Bulls are recently off a four-game losing streak of their own, though results have been mixed ever since.

With five of the 10 defenders on their roster unavailable due to injuries and international call-ups, the Red Bulls will have to get creative at one of the full back spots in this one. This should be a wide open game with lots of chances on the counter going either way. I actually like the Revs, because for all that Jones means to them, the rest of the roster is still intact.

Prediction: Red Bulls 1-2 Revs

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

New York City FC vs. Toronto FC (Sunday, 3 pm ET, ESPN)

NYCFC have won four out of five, while TFC got hammered last weekend by the LA Galaxy, 4-0. No Michael Bradley and no Jozy Altidore (international duty) means the onus of not only scoring goals, but driving the game, falls squarely on the shoulders of Sebastian Giovinco, who’s scored just once in his last four games.

Fortunately for the Reds, NYCFC’s greatest weakness is still the area of the field in which Giovinco and Benoit Cheyrou operate, which means they’ve got a chance. That said, David Villa is in stunning form (five goals in four games) as he’s been healthy for more than two months straight. Advantage NYCFC, though who know’s what can happen on the ping-pong pitch at Yankee Stadium.

Prediction: NYCFC 2-1 TFC

[ MORE: USA 2-1 Honduras | Three things | Player ratings | Slow start for USMNT ]

Orlando City SC vs. FC Dallas (Saturday, 7:30 pm ET, MLS Live)

After losing just once in their last eight league games, expansion side Orlando City find themselves all the way up in third place in the Eastern Conference. That’s pretty remarkable, really, considering that the Seattle Sounders (2009) were the only expansion team to qualify for the playoffs in the last decade.

While the Lions are once again decimated by injuries (Aurelien Collin, Brek Shea and Kevin Molino), international call-ups (Cyle Larin and Darwin Ceren) and red cards (Kaka), Adrian Heath’s bunch continues to roll right along. This will, however, be their first voyage without Kaka since they entered the league. FCD haven’t conceded a goal in nearly 200 minutes, which doesn’t bode well for what is sure to be an impotent Lions attack.

Prediction: Orlando City 0-2 FCD

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Gold Cup coverage | Standings | Stats | Schedule ]

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Sporting Kansas City (Sunday, 9 pm ET, MLS Live)

While Sporting KC have been one of the best teams in MLS over the last two months, this is a matchup that just sets up horribly for Peter Vermes’ side. Not only will they be without starters Graham Zusi and Marcel de Jong (international duty), but the Whitecaps are a juggernaut at home and will almost certainly look to exploit Sporting’s rookie third-string left back Amadou Dia with the pace of Kekuta Manneh and Cristian Techera.

For as dynamic as the ‘Caps are going forward, they’ve actually give up the sixth-fewest goals this season (19 in 19 games). Of course, Sporting have conceded the fewest (17). It won’t be a spectacle of exciting soccer, but #VANvSKC will ultimately play out as an interesting tactical battle between Vermes and Carl Robinson.

Prediction: Whitecaps 1-0 Sporting KC

Champions League wrap: PSV strikes late to win thriller (video)

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Five first legs of the UEFA Champions League’s second qualifying round are in the books, including a thrilling back-and-forth with a show-stopping stoppage time winner.

[ MORE: Rodgers talks down Maguire sale ]


PSV Eindhoven 3-2 FC Basel

Bruma scored a debut opener for the Dutch hosts, who fell behind 2-1 in the 79th minute before Sam Lammers and Donyell Malen struck in the 89th minute and second minute of stoppage, respectively, to put PSV ahead.

Basel will be okay taken two away goals home via Albian Aljeti and Omar Alderete.

Lammers came in for Mexican star Hirving Lozano in the 79th minute to score the leveler within 10 minutes before Malen, who went the full 90, kept his focus to deliver this clever winner.

The New Saints 0-2 Copenhagen

Pieros Sotiriou and Robert Skov scored on either side of halftime to give the Danish powers a healthy advantage heading into the second leg.

Elsewhere
FK Sutjeska 0-1 APOEL Nicosia
Saburtalo 0-2 Dinamo Zagreb
Viktoria Plzen 0-0 Olympiacos

Wednesday
BATE Borisov v. Rosenborg — 1 p.m. ET
Ferencvaros v. Valletta — 2 p.m. ET
CFR Cluj v. Maccabi Tel-Aviv — 2 p.m. ET
Maribor v. AIK — 2:15 p.m. ET
Red Star Belgrade v. HJK Helsinki — 2:45 p.m. ET
Dundalk v. Qarabag — 2:45 p.m. ET
Celtic v. Nomme Kalju — 2:45 p.m. ET

Rodgers says no close bids for Maguire

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Those tired of seeing Harry Maguire‘s name in the headlines, hoping his transfer saga had concluded with weekend reports that Manchester United agreed to a fee with Leicester City, well, they are going to be sorely disappointed.

[ MORE: Who is Newcastle’s new $50M forward? ]

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers credited Maguire for his professionalism — the center back scored in a friendly win on Tuesday — and said that the club’s vice chairman Aiyawatt “Top” Srivaddhanaprabha has not received a fitting bid for the 26 year old’s services.

From The Leicester Mercury:

“There’s no big pressure to sell any player. If a player does leave Leicester City, then the player would need to be met because we have a top-level player, coveted by top-level clubs and I respect that,” Rodgers said. “Harry is on a long contract here and there’s been no valuation or near to that which would make Top have a look.”

Nooooooooooo.

Look, we’ve still got a few weeks until the close of the window, and every supporter has a target they want their club to acquire and some have some assets they hope stay in the same shirt at the deadline.

The Maguire story is getting a bit tedious now. He wants to go to Manchester United, but Rodgers is happy to keep him at Leicester. Maguire’s not the player who will quit on the club if he’s not sold, and Leicester’s hope of landing a replacement will dip as the deadline draws nearer and clubs like Burnley (James Tarkowski) realize their replacements options have been lessened by the wait.

Janssen leaves Spurs for Liga MX in $8M deal

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Vincent Janssen‘s less-than-ideal tenure with Tottenham Hotspur has come to its end, and he’s moving his way to this side of the Atlantic.

Liga MX side Monterrey has agreed to buy Janssen, Spurs announced Tuesday. The deal is for a reported $8 million.

[ MORE: Rich new deal for Hudson-Odoi ]

The Dutchman turned 25 this summer. He played just 42 times for Spurs after arriving from AZ Alkmaar for around $25 million in 2016, scoring six times, but did manage five goals and four assists in a half-year loan to Fenerbahce in 2017-18.

Janssen saw his time with the Netherlands national team peter out during his tenure at Spurs. After a red-hot start, he has not been capped since 2017. Janssen has seven goals in 17 caps.

His time at Spurs cannot be labeled as anything but a gigantic bust, but Janssen is still pretty young and has a chance to recapture his career momentum.

And he looks pretty happy about it.

Transfer gossip: Newcastle eyes 2nd Brazilian, USMNT’s Arriola on move

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Two players from the Western hemisphere may be heading across the Atlantic, one of whom is very familiar to American eyes.

[ MORE: Rich new deal for Hudson-Odoi ]

DC United winger Paul Arriola could be leaving Major League Soccer in a return to Liga MX or a move abroad to Europe.

CBS’ Roger Gonzalez says some of the big boys in Mexico are after the former LA Galaxy youth product who got his start at Club Tijuana.

Arriola, 24, has 28 caps with five goals and five assists for the USMNT, blooded by Jurgen Klinsmann in 2016. He has 12 goals and 10 assists in 57 matches for DC United since arriving from Tijuana.

[ MORE: Who is Newcastle’s new $50M forward? ]

Next up: Newcastle United may be in for another Brazilian attacker.

Marrony is the name, and Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol says the Magpies were alerted to his potential by the same source who claimed they were after Joelinton (who signed today after a $50 million deal).

The 20-year-old has a reported $37 million release clause, a left winger has a goal and an assist in two seasons with Vasco da Gama in Brazil. He also scored five times in 15 appearances for the club in the state league.

It feels a bit like a red herring or straight-up agent speak, but the Joelinton deal seemed unusual as well (albeit in a different way).