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Report: Pity Martinez could cost Atlanta United almost $14 million

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It’s not as much as the club spent on Ezequiel Barco, but Atlanta United has again reportedly shelled out a boatload of money compared to most MLS transactions to sign its latest Argentine star.

According to a report from Argentine daily newspaper Ole, Atlanta United and River Plate agreed on a base $10 million transfer fee for midfielder Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez. The fee could rise to nearly $14 million should Martinez make 10 MLS starts, or should he be sold to a new club, which-ever comes first, along with agent fees and taxes. In addition, Atlanta United and River Player will play a friendly match in the future, with River Plate keeping the proceeds of the match.

The agreement is lower than Martinez’s reported release clause, which has been cited at both $15 million and $17 million from different outlets.

Martinez, 25, scored the third goal in River Plate’s wild 3-1 win over Boca Juniors in the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final, which took place at the Estadio Bernabeu in Madrid. Martinez decided to take Atlanta United’s offer reportedly because they “put their trust” in him, while European suitors did not. At 25, Martinez is entering the prime of his career and is a major coup for MLS.

Although not many clubs can afford to pay those fees, if more of the top South American stars are looking to come to the U.S., it will only raise the level of the league, as European sides miss out on the available talent. For Atlanta United, it leaves them in an interesting situation.

More than likely Martinez will be a Designated Player, but at the moment, Atlanta United’s three DP spots are all filled by Josef Martinez, Miguel Almiron and Barco. Almiron is reportedly close to a move to the Premier League, with Newcastle reportedly his potential destination, but no announcement has been made yet.

Like the LA Galaxy, Atlanta United has until March to finalize their season-opening roster with three DPs, but expect plenty of movement in January as the transfer window in Europe and abroad opens.

FOLLOW LIVE, Gold Cup: USMNT closes out group v. Panama

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It’s a fully-changed starting XI for the U.S. Men’s National Team as it closes out the group stage against Panama at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

Omar Gonzalez and Matt Miazga start together in the backline, Jozy Altidore returns to the starting lineup up top, and Jordan Morris and Jonathan Lewis feature on the wings alongside Altidore. Ten of the 11 players now ply their trade in MLS, including the Gonzalez, who recently moved to Toronto FC.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: USMNT takes on Panama in Kansas City]

Hit the link above to follow along for the next two hours, and check back on PST for a full recap and in-depth analysis after the final whistle.

Must-See Goal: Wayne Rooney v. Orlando City

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I’m going to go out on a limb and say it. Wayne Rooney just scored the most amazing goal in Audi Field’s young history.

In the 10th minute of D.C. United’s match against Orlando City SC on Wednesday evening, Rooney noticed Orlando’s Brian Rowe straying way off his line. And so, with an audacious but accurate attempt, Rooney let fly from 65 yards and SCORED. Just check this goal out below.


Rooney took advantage of a crazy bounce and with his literal first touch, unleashed a thunderbolt that Rowe couldn’t catch up to. It automatically becomes one of the top contenders for the MLS Goal of the Year, and should make it on every top ten countdown this evening and tomorrow.

Benfica: Atletico Madrid make $143 million bid for Felix

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The legend of Joao Felix appears to have reached full market value potential.

The 19-year-old Portuguese striker is coming off a breakout year for Benfica, and now the Portuguese giants have received an impressive $143 million offer from Atletico Madrid for Felix. The club confirmed the offer in a statement on its website, stating it was analyzing the deal. Felix has a $136.5 million release clause in his contract, but it appears the additional $7 million is in processing costs.

[READ: Kroos wants to retire at Real Madrid]

Felix was outstanding at Benfica last year, scoring 15 goals with seven assists in 26 league games and three goals and one assist in five Europa League game. Felix has already made his international debut for Portugal.

If confirmed, Felix would become the fifth-most expensive transfer in world history, and the second-most expensive transfer for a teenager behind Kylian Mbappe.

AFCON: Nigeria 1st team through to round of 16 at African Cup, joined by host Egypt

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CAIRO (AP) Former champion Nigeria became the first team to reach the last 16 at the African Cup of Nations after defender Kenneth Omeruo‘s second-half goal delivered a 1-0 win over Guinea on Wednesday.

The Nigerians were unimpressive in the first half in Alexandria but lifted their game in the second. Alex Iwobi‘s rasping shot was pushed away by Guinea goalkeeper Ibrahim Kone and Ahmed Musa almost set up Odion Ighalo on a counterattack.

The former Chelsea defender Omeruo did what the forwards had not been able to do when he beat Kone with a glancing header at the near post off Moses Simon’s corner in the 73rd minute.

Nigeria, which won the title in 2013, has two wins from two games in Group B. It beat Burundi 1-0 in its first match and now needs a draw from its last fixture against Madagascar to finish top and stay in Alexandria for the last 16.

There was more good news for Nigeria when Samuel Kalu came on as a substitute near the end. The midfield player collapsed at a training session the day before the first game, suffering from dehydration, and was hospitalized.

Coach Gernot Rohr rested captain John Obi Mikel against Guinea.

Elsewhere, Egypt also confirmed a place in the knockout stages with a 2-0 win over the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ahmad Elmohamady and Mohamed Salah each scored in the first half to lead the Pharoahs to victory, the hosts second-straight win in the competition.

In the other match of the day, Uganda tied Zimbabwe, 1-1.