Diego Valeri named 2017 MLS MVP

Pete Christopher//The Oregonian via AP
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It’s no shock, but Diego Valeri is the 2017 Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player.

The Portland Timbers man carried the Cascadian club on his back, scoring 21 times with 11 assists. That includes an MLS record nine-match scoring streak.

Valeri won more than 50 percent of the vote, with runner-up David Villa the only other player getting double digits (16.40).

[ MORE: Goretzka readies decision ]

Three Toronto FC players split 10 percent of the vote (Sebastian Giovinco, Michael Bradley, Victor Vazquez). The Top Eight was rounded out by Atlanta United pair Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez, and Chicago striker Nemanja Nikolic.

He’s Portland’s first MLS MVP.

  • 2017: Diego Valeri – Portland Timbers
  • 2016: David Villa – New York City FC
  • 2015: Sebastian Giovinco – Toronto FC
  • 2014: Robbie Keane – LA Galaxy
  • 2013: Mike Magee – Chicago Fire
  • 2012: Chris Wondolowski – San Jose Earthquakes
  • 2011: Dwayne De Rosario – D.C. United
  • 2010: David Ferreira – FC Dallas
  • 2009: Landon Donovan – LA Galaxy
  • 2008: Guillermo Barros Schelotto – Columbus Crew
  • 2007: Luciano Emilio – D.C. United
  • 2006: Christian Gomez – D.C. United
  • 2005: Taylor Twellman – New England Revolution
  • 2004: Amado Guevara – MetroStars
  • 2003: Preki – Kansas City Wizards
  • 2002: Carlos Ruiz – LA Galaxy
  • 2001: Alex Pineda Chacon – Miami Fusion
  • 2000: Tony Meola – Kansas City Wizards
  • 1999: Jason Kreis – Dallas Burn
  • 1998: Marco Etcheverry – D.C. United
  • 1997: Preki – Kansas City Wizards
  • 1996: Carlos Valderrama – Tampa Bay Mutiny

Folarin Balogun to USMNT? England to hold talks after U.S. interest

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Arsenal rising star Folarin Balogun held talks with U.S. Soccer last week and now he is set to discuss his international future with England.

Balogun visited Orlando, Florida during the March international break and the USMNT eligible striker being interested in committing his international future to the USA caused quite the stir.

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The England U21 forward missed their March camp due to a small injury and he then posted a photo on social media which showed he was near to the USMNT’s training camp in Florida and he has was around Orlando for the USMNT’s 1-0 win against El Salvador there.

Now, England U21 boss Lee Carsley has revealed that the Three Lions setup will hold talks with Balogun about his future next week, as they will travel to Reims in France where he is currently on loan from Arsenal.

“He’s going to have to make a decision, so all we can do is tell him how much we rate him. The rest is down to him,” Carsley said via the London Evening Standard. Balogun has scored seven goals in 13 U21 games for England.

However, USMNT interim head coach Anthony Hudson last week confirmed that Balogun and U.S. Soccer had held talks over his future.

“We’ve had a dialogue. He is out here [in Orlando] having a bit of a break and training. We’ve had some discussions. It’s now just about him enjoying the rest of his trip… It has been an opportunity for us to share about our program, and that’s it. I hope we speak again,” Hudson said.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Balogun is a man in demand as England, the USMNT and Nigeria all push for him to represent them as he continues to assess his options.

 


What are the chances he selects USMNT?

Balogun, 21, has scored 17 goals in France’s top-flight for Reims this season as his loan spell from Arsenal has gone incredibly well and only Jonathan David and Kylian Mbappe have scored more goals than him in Ligue 1 so far in 2022-23.

Internationally he is eligible to play for the USA, England and Nigeria and he has represented England’s youth teams in recent years and has previously played for the USA at U18 level.

Balogun was expected to play for the Three Lions during this international break as he is England’s main goalscoring threat at U21 level and Carsley wants him to represent them this summer at the U21 European Championships.

The talented striker used an unexpected window of opportunity to fly to Orlando to meet with U.S. Soccer reps to discuss his potential future with the USMNT. So, will he switch his international allegiance?

Arsenal teammate and USMNT’s starting goalkeeper Matt Turner had this to say when asked about Balogun.

“Yeah, he’d be a great addition to our national team. I think he’s done really well, obviously, for his club on loan, and we’ll see. The decision has to come from the heart, because it’s not necessarily an easy task always, to come and play in these CONCACAF games, and it’s a tough region at times. So for us, we’d be really grateful to have him, but his heart needs to be in it,” Turner said.


What does he think?

Balogun has spoken about this topic before as Pro Soccer Talk asked him about his international future in an interview at the start of last season.

We asked Balogun if other Arsenal academy graduates like Yunus Musah and Bukayo Saka being in similar situations has led to them discussing how they made their decision on which country to represent and if that would help him to decide who he plays for internationally.

“I haven’t spoken to any of them about the nationality situation,” Balogun said. “Even from just the way I’ve known them, it is not something they have put a lot of pressure on themselves about. I think it is a decision that comes naturally to them.

“I think I’m going to do the same and hopefully something will just come to me and then I will make a decision… I don’t want to put too much pressure on the situation. It is just something that will just come to me.”

Maybe that feeling came to him while he was in the Orlando area with the USMNT.

Manchester City vs Liverpool: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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Manchester City host Liverpool in a huge game for both teams as they battle for the title and a top four finish respectively.

STREAM LIVE MANCHESTER CITY v LIVERPOOL

Pep Guardiola’s Man City can momentarily cut the gap to leaders Arsenal to five points but there are question marks swirling around the fitness of goalscoring machine Erling Haaland heading into this game. City are looking for a three-peat of Premier League titles and five in the last six seasons, but Arsenal don’t look like they’re going to slip up anytime soon. So City can’t afford to either. They’ve won six in a row in all competitions, scoring 23 and conceding once in that run. We all know they love to kick on at this point of the campaign, so let’s see if they can do it again.

As for Liverpool, well, it has been one step forward and one step back pretty much all season long for Jurgen Klopp’s side. After their 7-0 shellacking of Manchester United, they then lost at Bournemouth to infuriate Klopp and their fans further. The front three of Salah, Nunez and Gakpo are all clicking through the gears nicely but Liverpool have to become more consistent and dominant games in midfield if they’re going to close the gap to the current top four. They’ve had success against City in recent years as their contrasting style of play match up well but this seems like a different, more fragile, Liverpool this season.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

Here’s everything you need for Manchester City vs Liverpool.


How to watch Manchester City vs Liverpool live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 7:30am ET, Saturday
TV Channel: Peacock
Online: Stream via Peacock Premium


Key storylines & in-form players to watch

The fitness of Haaland is obviously a huge concern for City as he suffered a groin issue and did not play for Norway over the international break and returned to Manchester for treatment. If he isn’t fit to start then expect Julian Alvarez to come in. Elsewhere, City are flying with Jack Grealish, Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gunodgan having a big role to play with Phil Foden out following his Appendectomy. As always, Kevin de Bruyne is the main man and will relish this chance to cut Arsenal’s lead atop the table.

Liverpool just can’t find consistency right now. They have improved defensively but they are a real Jekyll and Hyde team. Jurgen Klopp isn’t a fan of that and showed his frustration after their defeat at Bournemouth, which was their last Premier League game and was way back on March 11. He’s had a few weeks to stew over that loss and it will be intriguing to see what plan he has come up with. For this game as earlier this season Liverpool beat Man City 1-0 at Anfield by playing a front four which pinned City in.


Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Erling Haaland (groin) | OUT: Phil Foden (appendix removed)

Liverpool team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Calvin Ramsay (knee), Stefan Bajcetic (groin) | QUESTIONABLE: Luis Diaz (knee), Darwin Nunez (ankle), Kostas Tsimikas (rib), Thiago Alcantara (hip), Joe Gomez (undisclosed)



Erling Haaland injury update: Man City star leaves Norway squad

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Manchester City star Erling Haaland left the Norway squad during the international break after suffering a groin injury.

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Haaland, 22, joined up with Norway for their EURO 2024 qualifiers but has been sent back to Manchester City for treatment.

The Norwegian striker has been in stunning form in recent weeks, scoring nine goals in his last three games in all competitions for City (including five against RB Leipzig in the Champions League and a hat trick against Burnley in the FA Cup) before the break.

He has scored 42 (yes, forty two) goals in all competitions for Man City this season.

However, Pep Guardiola and Man City now face an anxious wait as an injury to Erling Haaland is the last thing they wanted before a pivotal final few months of the season as they chase the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble.


What is the latest update?

Norway’s team doctor, Ola Sand, gave an update on Haaland’s injury.

“We hoped that this was just a familiarity that would carry over to Saturday, but after doing tests and examinations yesterday it became clear that he will not make it to the games against Spain and Georgia,” Sand said. “It is better that he receives medical follow-up at the club.”

Norway face Spain on Saturday and Georgia next Tuesday, so it seems like Haaland is in a race to be fit for Man City’s games after the international break.


Which games could he miss?

After the international break Man City are playing in the first game of the weekend as they host Liverpool on Saturday, Apr. 1 at the Etihad Stadium.

It seems like Haaland could be struggling to be fully fit for that game, and maybe even the trip to Southampton on Apr. 8, so Pep Guardiola may choose to rest him for their massive UEFA Champions League quarterfinal first leg against Bayern Munich on Apr. 11.

Given the form Haaland is in right now, it will be a blow for City if he does miss the next few games but the last thing they want is any long-term damage. Plus, it’s helpful to have the likes of World Cup winner Julian Alvarez in reserve to step in for Haaland.

Premier League relegation history – What do the stats tell us about this season?

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With nine teams currently separated by four points, from 20th to 12th places, the 2022-23 Premier League relegation battle is not only set to last until the final day, but the final two months of the season are sure to be one of the wildest roller-coaster rides of all time.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]  

Three clubs will be relegated from the Premier League (and replaced by three teams from the EFL Championship, of course) at season’s end. Never before have this many clubs been this close to the bottom-three, and the bottom of the table, at this point of a season.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League table for 2022-23 season ]

Below is everything you need to know about the relegation battle set to unfold over the final eight weeks of the 2022-23 season…


Who are the clubs in this year’s Premier League relegation battle?

Crystal Palace – 27 points, 12th place
Wolves – 27 points, 13th place
Leeds – 26 points, 14th place
Everton – 26 points, 15th place
Nottingham Forest – 26 points, 16th place
Leicester – 25 points, 17th place
West Ham – 24 points, 18th place
Bournemouth – 24 points, 19th place
Southampton – 23 points, 20th place


What was the magic number to avoid relegation in recent seasons?

2022: 36 points
2021: 29 points
2020: 35 points
2019: 35 points
2018: 34 points
2017: 35 points
2016: 38 points
2015: 36 points
2014: 34 points
2013: 37 points
2012: 37 points
2011: 40 points
2010: 31 points
2009: 35 points
2008: 36 points


When was the last time each club was relegated from the Premier League/top flight?

Fulham: 2021 (promoted 2022 – 1 season in PL)
Bournemouth: 2020 (promoted 2022 – 1 season)
Aston Villa: 2016 (promoted 2020 – 4 seasons)
Newcastle: 2016 (promoted 2017 – 6 seasons)
Wolves: 2012 (promoted 2018 – 5 seasons)
West Ham: 2011 (promoted 2012 – 11 seasons)
Southampton: 2005 (promoted 2012 – 11 seasons)
Crystal Palace: 2005 (promoted 2013 – 10 seasons)
Leeds: 2004 (promoted 2020 – 3 seasons)
Leicester: 2004 (promoted 2014 – 9 seasons)
Manchester City: 2001 (promoted 2002 – 21 seasons)
Nottingham Forest: 1999 (promoted 2022 – 1 season)
Chelsea: 1988 (promoted 1989 – 34 seasons)
Brighton: 1983 (promoted 2017 – 6 seasons)
Tottenham: 1977 (promoted 1978 – 45 seasons)
Manchester United: 1974 (promoted in 1975 – 48 seasons)
Liverpool: 1954 (promoted 1962 – 61 seasons)
Everton: 1951 (promoted 1954 – 69 seasons)
Brentford: 1947 (promoted 2021 – 2 seasons)
Arsenal: 1913 (promoted 1915 – 103 seasons)


How many games remaining between relegation candidates?

There are 23 remaining head-to-head matchups between the nine teams currently in the relegation battle.

Crystal Palace: 8 games (1 against every other team)
Wolves: 4 games
Leeds: 5 games
Everton: 4 games
Nottingham Forest: 4 games
Leicester: 6 games
West Ham: 5 games
Bournemouth: 6 games
Southampton: 4 games


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