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MLS Draft: Amaya goes first to expansion FC Cincinnati

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New Major League Soccer club FC Cincinnati made Frankie Amaya its latest player, picking the UCLA midfielder first in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft. Below is the full list of first round picks made so far:

#1 – FC Cincinnati: Frankie Amaya, UCLA

A United States youth international, Amaya is a raw midfielder that, despite being the youngest player in the draft, is still far more experienced than most in the pool. His college numbers and production are a big question mark, but he is a consensus high ceiling guy who can make an impact if given time.

#2 – San Jose Earthquakes: Siad Haji, VCU

An well-publicized underwhelming combine didn’t deter San Jose, who took a VCU midfielder that has good attacking ability and great vision, but still has questions to answer about his speed.

#3 – Orlando City: Santiago Pantino, FIU

Known as a strong target man striker, Pantino played with Seattle’s U-23 USL League Two side and could be a legitimate backup option right away.

#4 – FC Dallas (from Colorado): Callum Montgomery, Charlotte

A Generation Adidas player, Montgomery is another guy that has a shot to be a contributor at the back right away, with many believing he’s maybe the most pro-ready player in the draft. His position on this list lends to that belief.

#5 – Colorado Rapids (from Chicago): Andre Shinyashiki, Denver

The Brazilian was a Hermann Award finalist in his senior year, scoring a whopping 28 goals in 21 games during the campaign to lead the nation.

#6 – Toronto FC: Griffin Dorsey, Indiana

#7 – Minnesota United: Dayne St. Clair, Maryland

#8 – Houston Dynamo: Sam Junqua, Cal

#9 – New England Revolution: Tajon Buchanan, Syracuse

#10 – FC Dallas (from Montreal): John Nelson, UNC

#11 – New England Revolution (from Vancouver): DeJuan Jones, Michigan State

#12 – NYCFC (from LA Galaxy): Luis Barraza, Marquette

#13 – FC Cincinnati (from Philadelphia): Logan Gdula, Wake Forest

#14 – DC United: Akeem Ward, Creighton

#15 – Minnesota United (from Chicago via FC Dallas and Colorado): Chase Gasper, Maryland

#16 – NY Red Bulls (from Cincinnati via LAFC): Roy Boateng, UC Davis

#17 – Real Salt Lake: Sam Brown, Harvard

#18 – Columbus Crew: J.J. Williams, Kentucky

#19 – LA Galaxy (from NYCFC): Emil Cuello, SMU

#20 – Seattle Sounders: Tucker Bone, Air Force

#21 – Sporting KC: Kamar Mariott, Florida Gulf Coast

#22 – NY Red Bulls: Janos Loebe, Fordham

#23 – Portland Timbers: Ryan Sierakowski, Michigan St.

#24 – Atlanta United: Anderson Asiedu

Round 2

#25 – NY Red Bulls (from Cincinnati): Sean Nealis, Hofstra

#26 – San Jose Earthquakes: Sergio Rivas, Seattle

#27 – Orlando City: Kamal Miller, Syracuse

#28 – Atlanta United: Marcelo Borges, Michigan

#29 – FC Cincinnati (from Chicago via Philadelphia): Tommy McCabe, Notre Dame

#30 – FC Cincinnati (from Toronto): Jimmy Hague, Michigan St.

#31 – Minnesota United: Hassani Dotson, Oregon St.

#32 – New York Red Bulls (from Houston via Chicago): Rece Buckmaster, Indiana

#33 – Houston Dynamo: Andrew Samuels, Maryland

#34 – Montreal Impact: Amar Sejdic, Maryland

#35 – Vancouver Whitecaps: Brandon McDonough, Georgetown

#36 – LA Galaxy: Don Tchilao, Oregon St.

#37 – FC Cincinnati (from  Philadelphia): Ben Lundt, Akron

#38 – Orlando City (from D.C. United): Tommy Madden, UNC-Charlotte

#39 – Toronto FC (From FC Dallas via Colorado): Adam Wilson, Louisville

#40 – LAFC: Peter-Lee Vassell, Harbor View FC

#41 – Real Salt Lake: Kyle Coffey, Washington

#42 – Colorado Rapids (from Columbus): Jacob Hauser-Ramsey, UConn

#43 – NYCFC: Abdi Mohamed, Akron

#44 – Seattle Sounders: Joel Rydstrand, Creighton

#45 – Sporting KC: Camden Riley, Pacific

#46 – San Jose Earthquakes (from RBNY): Mamadi Camara, Simon Francis

#47 – Portland Timbers: Lennart Hein, Saint Louis

#48 – Atlanta United: Amir Bashti, Stanford

Also, of note, Major League Soccer announced just prior to the draft that the annual Coach of the Year award would be renamed after former LA Galaxy, Columbus Crew, and Seattle Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid, who passed away last month. The announcement was fitting as Amaya, a UCLA grad, was selected first just after the announcement. Schmid coached UCLA for nearly 20 years before he moved to the USMNT youth fold and then on to Major League Soccer.

Transfer news: King to Man United; Tagliafico to Arsenal

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In the latest transfer news Josh King has been linked with a move to Man United this summer as several top clubs are circling, while Ajax and Argentina defender Nicolas Tagliafico could be heading to Arsenal.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

First up, our partners at Sky Sports in the UK have a beauty of a report which states that four of the Premier League’s top six clubs want to sign Bournemouth striker Josh King.

King, 28, was the subject of a late bid form Man United in the January window but the Cherries turned it down as they needed him to help with their relegation battle. Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe admitted it was tough on King and the players also revealed he was it was tough to see the move blocked, as he came through Man United’s youth academy and the Norwegian international is close with Man United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. King has scored 46 goals in 154 Premier League appearances for Bournemouth and has been instrumental since they were promoted to the top-flight in 2015. King loves Man United and this would clearly be a good fit for all concerned.

Per the fresh report, Man United are keen on King because he can play centrally and wide and with Odion Ighalo’s future uncertain amid his loan move from Shanghai Shenhua, Solskjaer wants to add one more striker this summer. King has one year left on his contract and Bournemouth are expected to cash in on him but Chelsea are also said to be interested, as well as two other ‘top six’ clubs.

Bournemouth rejected a $25 million offer for King in January but they would snap anybody’s hand off for that this summer given the financial situation due to the coronavirus pandemic and the fact King will have just one year left on his current deal. Bournemouth have already been burned by not extending Ryan Fraser’s contract and he is set to be out of contract on July 1.

Tagliafico
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Heading from Manchester to London, Arsenal are said to be interested in Ajax and Argentina defender Nicolas Tagliafico.

The Gunners continue to be linked with plenty of defenders and even though it is believed Mikel Arteta will not have a big transfer budget in the upcoming transfer windows, Tagliafico for $25 million is a steal.

According to the Sun, Arsenal want the 27-year-old as Ajax CEO Edwin van der Sar recently said that Tagliafico, Andre Onana and Donny van de Beek are free to leave this summer if their transfer value is met. Tagliafico is said to be keen on a fresh challenge and wants a move to the Premier League.

Do Arsenal need a left back? Teenage star Bukayo Saka has been splendid out of position at left back this season but both he and Arsenal are keen to move him back into his natural position as a left winger, while young Scottish left back Kieran Tierney has struggled with injuries throughout his debut campaign in the Premier League.

Tagliafico can also play as a left-sided center back and with the Gunners experimenting at times with a 3-4-3 formation, he would give them flexibility and defensive options. It is clear Arsenal need to improve defensively and Tagliafico is a very solid left back who is good on the ball and is also a goal threat at the other end of the pitch.

Cologne deny Fortuna with amazing late comeback (video)

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Relegation-threatened Fortuna Dusseldorf thought they had secured a massive win away at FC Cologne in the Rhine Derby on Sunday as Kenan Karaman and Erik Thommy struck in each half to put them 2-0 up, but the hosts struck twice late on to grab a dramatic 2-2 draw.

Anthony Modeste and Jhon Corodba were the heroes for Cologne, who blew a 2-0 lead last week to draw 2-2 at home with Mainz but this time out they were on the other end of a comeback.

It didn’t look like being Cologne’s day for vast swathes of the game as at 1-0 to Fortuna, Florian Kastenmeier saved Mark Uth’s penalty kick in what looked like a key moment for Uwe Rosler’s Fortuna who are embroiled in the Bundesliga relegation battle.

The draw sees Fortuna move onto 24 points as they sit in 16th place, which is the relegation playoff spot. After a big win for 17th place Werder Bremen this weekend, plus heavy defeats for Mainz, Augsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt above them, the Bundesliga relegation battle has become extremely intriguing. A note for USMNT fans: midfielder Alfredo Morales put in a tireless 90 minute shift in central midfield.

Cologne sit 10th on 34 points and are in the hunt for Europa League qualification.

Fortuna went ahead early on as Karaman found some space in the box and his shot deflected in as the away side led at the break.

Cologne were handed the perfect opportunity to get back into the game in the second half as Uth first hit the post, then was denied by Kastenmeier before he was scythed down in the box as a penalty kick was awarded.

Uth, who scored a penalty kick last week, appeared to take the ball off Cordoba and Kastenmeier produced a fine save down low as Fortuna celebrated wildly once the ball was cleared.

Buoyed by that penalty save, Fortuna went up the other end moments later and doubled their lead as the ball found Thommy at the back post and he curled a sumptuous effort into the far corner.

Fortuna believed they were home and dry.

With 88 minutes on the clock, the Cologne comeback began as Modeste headed home superbly to make it 2-1 and give his side hope of grabbing a point.

 

In the 91st minute the equalizer arrived in similar fashion.

Fortuna ran out of steam and another cross from the right found Cordoba who nodded home to snatch a point for the hosts.

The draw felt like a win for Cologne and it was a sickening blow for a Fortuna side who badly need all three points in their battle against the drop.

Crucial week ahead for the Premier League

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The upcoming week is a huge one for the Premier League as a key vote and serious talks are set to take place with regards to restarting the 2019-20 season.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

All 20 clubs will meet on several video conference calls to discuss the protocols around a return to full-contact training, subject to government approval, as players, managers and the Premier League will discuss the details with medical experts. The UK government have yet to release details about stage two of a return to training for professional athletes and several Premier League stars have revealed their angst about returning to training.

Clubs will then vote on a return to full-contact training on Wednesday and depending on the outcome of that vote, that will shape further talks. If full-contact training is given the thumbs up, it is expected that on Thursday clubs will then discuss the plan to either restart the season in mid-June or curtailment plans which would see the table potentially decided on a points-per-game basis.

The Premier League confirmed over the weekend that from 1,744 tests on players and staff across the first two rounds of COVID-19 tests, eight positive tests have been recorded with players from both Watford and Bournemouth confirmed to have the virus.

Players will again be tested on Monday and Tuesday and the results of those tests will be key in seeing how the strict protocols at training grounds are working.

All 20 clubs unanimously voted in favor of a return to small-group training and they are all said to be in favor of a return to action, although some have publicly aired reservations.

The next few days seem pivotal as to whether or not the final 92 games of the Premier League season will be played and all eyes will be on the vote on Wednesday, if the UK government can provide details on the new protocols.

With the Bundesliga off and running, La Liga set for a June 8 restart and Serie A planning for a mid-June restart, the Premier League are correctly being cautious when it comes to a restart. Sooner or later they need to vote on a path forward and this week will be crucial.

Leipzig smash Mainz; crowd noise experiment success (video)

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RB Leipzig kept their Bundesliga title push on track with a resounding 5-0 win at Mainz on Sunday as a crowd noise experiment equally stole the headlines.

Remember: Leipzig beat Mainz 8-0 earlier this season and this latest big win pushed them back into third place and five points behind leaders Bayern Munich, who face second place Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.

Julian Nagelsmann’s side scored early and often with Timo Werner grabbing a hat trick, plus Youssef Poulsen and Marcel Sabitzer adding a goal each. In truth, Leipzig should have won by more in a one-sided game which was talked about around the world due to a crowd noise experiment which included cow bells, drums and more broadcast on TV feeds but not in the stadium itself.

Throughout the game, crowd noise was played over the world feed and heard by the TV audience in the USA and elsewhere as supporters’ chants, cheers and jeers could be heard as a sound engineer played certain sound tracks at certain moments with wonderful timing. It was certainly a success and made watching the game more enjoyable for the TV audience as camera angles were also used cleverly to not show empty seats as much as possible.

As for the game itself, Leipzig went 2-0 up early on as Werner and Poulsen both finished calmly from fluid moves down the right.

First, Laimer popped up on the right wing and crossed for Werner to steer home at the near post, then Sabitzer appeared down the right and his clipped crossed was nodded home by the unmarked Poulsen.

Leipzig were all over Mainz in the first half as Werner was denied by goalkeeper Muller, then Poulsen shanked his effort wide from a good position and Nkunku slotted wide as they could have easily lead by four or five at half time.

They did lead by three goals as Leipzig launched another fine counter and Poulsen set up Sabitzer who found the top corner with ease.

Wave after wave of Leipzig attack continued in the second half as Werner scored his second and Leipzig’s fourth with another poacher’s finish.

Mainz simply couldn’t handle Leipzig’s movement and dropped deeper and deeper throughout as Werner finished off Poulsen’s quick free kick to put a bow on a comprehensive win for the Bundesliga and Champions League title chasers.

Even the (manufactured) home crowd at Mainz couldn’t help but applaud the five-star display from Leipzig.