AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Jordan Morris ruled out for season in major setback

Leave a comment

Jordan Morris’ ACL injury has ended his season, Seattle Sounders confirmed on Monday.

The 23-year-old suffered the injury in a CONCACAF Champions League match at Santa Tecla FC last week.

[ PL PLAYBACK: Scramble for second ]

Morris has 17 goals and six assists in 70 matches for the Sounders, but failed to build on a magnificent rookie season last year:He scored just three times with two assists in 23 matches.

Here’s Seattle general manager Garth Lagerwey, from SoundersFC.com:

“We are going to do what is best for Jordan’s career long-term. We think he is a Sounder for the long-term, he is in the club’s long-term plans,” Lagerwey added. “Jordan is part of the Sounders, that has not changed, that will not change. We are going to do what’s best for him long-term, which may mean a longer recovery.”

Potentially unpopular take on a young American soccer hero: This is not a huge setback for the Sounders, and most of the drawback comes from the timing of the injury (and Seattle’s inclusion in the CCL).

Some advanced metrics had Morris (barely) behind Will Bruin in 2017 performance, and Bruin remains on the team as a proven double-digit league scorer.

It also opens the door for any number of U.S. prospects. Not to kick a player when he’s down, but it begs the question of whether Morris descends into the post-injury dips of once-huge USMNT prospects Gyasi Zardes and Charlie Davies (wildly varying degrees of injury severity in those cases).

For all the plaudits Morris received when Jurgen Klinsmann elevated him to the senior team, he’s scored five times in 25 matches. With Tim Weah, Josh Sargent, and others in the pipeline, this recovery will be a crucible for Morris’ potential. The good news is, he’s often carried himself like a man capable of coming out of it with style. Here’s hoping.

Report: Liverpool agrees to terms for Roma keeper Alisson

Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Liverpool has been in search of a new first-choice goalkeeper for several months, and now it appears that Jurgen Klopp and his side have their man.

[ MORE: Schedule for PL giants on U.S. tours ]

The Reds reportedly have a deal in the place for Roma shot-stopper Alisson in excess of $84 million, which would make the 25-year-old the most expensive goalkeeper in football history.

Chelsea had also been viewed as a potential landing spot for the budding star in net, however, it seems likely that Liverpool has beaten their Premier League rivals for the player.

The previous transfer record for a keeper came 17 years ago when Italy legend Gianluigi Buffon completed a $69 million move from Parma to Juventus.

Alisson started in all five of Brazil’s World Cup matches this summer in Russia, including the team’s 2-1 defeat to Belgium that knocked the Selecao out of the competition in the quarterfinals.

He managed to keep three clean sheets in the tournament.

The move for Alisson will likely spell the end for Loris Karius at Anfield, after starting 33 matches in all competitions last season for the Reds, including the team’s UEFA Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid.

Iceland coach steps down after 7 years in charge

Mike Stobe/Getty Images
Leave a comment

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) The coach that led Iceland to its first World Cup has stepped down.

The Icelandic Football Association says Heimir Hallgrimsson has decided to leave at his own request, ending seven years in the role.

[ MORE: Schedule for PL giants on U.S. tours ]

Hallgrimsson was the co-coach with Lars Lagerback of Sweden at the European Championship in 2016, when Iceland reached the quarterfinals after beating England.

After Lagerback left, Hallgrimsson assumed sole control of the national team, which became the least populous team to ever play at a World Cup. Iceland drew with Argentina in its opening group game but failed to advance to the knockout stage.

Hellgrimsson is a part-time dentist.

Report: Real Madrid close to Courtois, Hazard deals

Getty Images
Leave a comment

According to radio network RMC Sport in France, Real Madrid has an agreement with Chelsea for the transfer of Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

The report states that Courtois would cost Los Blancos $41 million, and the transfer is imminent. That would be significantly cheaper than Liverpool’s widely reported bid for Roma goalkeeper Alisson, who is supposedly costing the Reds $81 million, which would be a record for a goalkeeper.

This could likely be attributed to the player’s contracts, with Courtois’s set to run out at the end of the coming season, while Alisson’s contract at Roma is good through the summer of 2021.

Courtois has been at Chelsea since 2011 when he arrived from Belgian club Genk, but spent the first few years out on loan at Atletico Madrid in Spain. He won the Golden Glove at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the award for the top goalkeeper in the tournament.

Meanwhile, the same RMC Sport report states that Real Madrid is close to an agreement for Courtois’s Chelsea teammate and Belgian countryman Eden Hazard. The 27-year-old has spent six years at Stamford Bridge since his move from Lille, and has heavily been speculated to be Real Madrid’s preferred replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo.

Both players are currently on holiday at different vacation destinations inSpain following the conclusion of the 2018 World Cup.

Cazorla returns to field for first time in almost 2 years

@VillarrealCF on Twitter
Leave a comment

Arsenal fan favorite Santi Cazorla saw his time with the Gunners come to an unceremonious end this summer. He had struggled for almost three full seasons with an ankle injury that continued to baffle doctors.

At one time, it got so bad that doctors told him he was lucky to walk again. Now, Cazorla is doing much more than walking.

The 33-year-old Spaniard, who is training with his old club Villarreal this summer after the expiry of his Arsenal contract, returned to the field for the first time in 636 days when he entered in the 67th minute of Villarreal’s friendly against Segunda B side Hercules.

Beaming with a massive smile, Cazorla received a hearty reception from the home Villarreal fans at the Mini Estadi on his enterance to the match. The match eventually ended in a 1-1 draw.

Cazorla posted on Twitter a week ago to say how happy he was to “feel like a footballer again” while training with Villarreal and said while there’s “much more work ahead” he has “more enthusiasm than ever.”

The Spaniard made 180 appearances for Arsenal across all competitions during his six-year stint in the Premier League, providing fluid creativity at the front of the Gunners’ attack, but the last three seasons were a nightmare. First a knee injury kept him out nearly the entire second half of the 2015/16 season, and then he ruptured his Achilles in October of 2016. It was not a standard recovery, eventually requiring a total of eight operations. A nasty infection required more surgery, forcing doctors to graft tendons from his left arm into his foot.

Gunners fans may not see him at The Emirates again, but they will be happy to know Cazorla has crossed a major hurdle in his attempt to return to the field competitively.