Sebastian Giovinco has already largely cemented his place as the best to ever play in MLS, and you can add the title of best free-kick taker in league history as well.
[ MORE: Pulisic, Dempsey, Bradley highlight USMNT roster for WCQ ]
Giovinco became the all-time leader in free kicks scored (10) four weeks ago today, a tally which he’s already increased to a dozen as of halftime of Sunday’s 401 Derby clash between Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact, thanks to this beauty which left Evan Bush standing in place, wondering how his life got to this point.
With David Villa back in the Spain squad this week, perhaps the path has been paved for Gian Piero Ventura to consider bringing Giovinco back into the Italian fold as well.
Nashville has its first official Major League Soccer signing, and it’s raided a USL rival to land him for the 2020 season.
[ REPORT: New Chelsea deal for Kante? ]
Daniel Rios is the debut member of their MLS side, and the 23-year-old Mexican striker will spend the 2019 season on loan to USL side Nashville SC.
Rios is bringing an outstanding 2018 season west from North Carolina, where he scored 20 goals and 13 assists for NCFC.
A former Mexico U-20 player, Rios was on loan to NCFC from Chivas Guadalajara.
Christian Pulisic may be only 20-years old, but he’ll have to take a big step up in leadership on Tuesday evening.
Pulisic has been given the captain’s armband for the first time as the youth-laden U.S. Men’s National Team side finishes the 2018 calendar slate facing an experimental Italy side. The U.S. Starting XI has an average age of just 22-years and 71 days, making it the youngest lineup in the modern era.
[ FOLLOW: PST’s Joe Prince-Wright reporting LIVE from Genk, Belgium ]
It’s also a chance for fans to see Josh Sargent play alongside Pulisic, while two members of the New York Red Bulls, Tyler Adams and Aaron Long, both make starts on this cool Tuesday evening. Reggie Cannon and Shaq Moore earn the nods at wing back and Cameron Carter-Vickers also makes his return to the field, after Dave Sarachan went with Matt Miazga and John Anthony Brooks against England in central defense. The USMNT will play with a three-man backline against Italy.
Stay tuned to PST for wall-to-wall coverage, reaction and analysis of Thursday’s game as soon as the final whistle blows.
Count Chelsea’s ownership and coaching staff among the many who value N'Golo Kante‘s talents, and are willing to pay big bucks for them.
According to a report in The Telegraph, Chelsea and Kante have agreed on a new five-year contract, worth $19.9 million per season. If true, Kante’s new contract doubles the French World Cup winner’s wages as he continues to prove his mettle as the top holding midfielder in the Premier League.
[READ: U.S. U-20s to face Mexico in CONCACAF U-20 Championship]
Kante’s so far scored one goal in 18 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea under new manager Maurizio Sarri, who has paired Kante in midfield with Jorginho. The Brazilian-born Italian serves as the deep-lying playmaker while Kante is the destroyer, winning the ball back before it gets into the final third.
The new contract is significant because in the past, mainly attackers have been given large contracts while defensive-minded players have had to settle for smaller wages. However, nearly $20 million per season is no small chunk of change, and this could raise the rest of the tide of holding midfielders across the Premier League.
For Chelsea, the club needed to re-sign Kante and keep him happy, in part because their title ambitions rest with him. The lure of playing for Paris Saint-Germain or Real Madrid can be strong, but with Chelsea paying his wages, he now has almost $20 million reasons not to leave Stamford Bridge.
Following a successful run at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, UEFA is finally getting on board with adopting video assistant refereeing.
VAR will be in use during the Champions League’s knockout stage in 2019, according to a report from the Times of London, which states that UEFA’s executive committee is expected to approve VAR for this season at an upcoming meeting on Dec. 3 in Dublin. Video review was reportedly not supposed to be approved until the 2019-2020 Champions League campaign but recent refereeing errors in the face of successful trials of VAR changed UEFA’s mind.
[READ: Ibrahimovic back to AC Milan?]
Video review at the World Cup proved that VAR could be conducted in a speedy and accurate manner, ensuring the integrity of the game while adding some new drama to the game. Raheem Sterling‘s penalty kick in Man City’s match against Shakhtar Donetsk, when video replay showed he tripped over his own feet, only renewed calls from fans and the media for video assistant referees to be used in these big-time events.
Technology has improved to the point where it is imperative that referees are given all the help they can receive. Players are moving quicker than ever, and the human eye can only watch so much. The fact that referees get nearly every decision correct is in it of itself, an impressive feat. Hopefully, with VAR coming to the Champions League and the Premier League, referees can return to getting game-changing decisions correct.