Top finisher, calculated risk: Cincinnati captures imagination with Brenner

Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

The latest and greatest buzz over a young international import to Major League Soccer is FC Cincinnati’s eight-figure purchase of Brenner Souza da Silva from Sao Paolo in Brazil.

The 21-year-old is coming off a top ten scoring season in Brazil’s Serie A, nabbing 11 goals and three assists in 1,929 minutes and adding six goals in six Copa Do Brasil appearances.

The video doesn’t lie: He’s a fox in the box with style to spare, a top ten scorer last season in Brazil who also ranked 10th in shots per game, 8th in total shots inside the penalty area, and 2nd on shots inside the six. He doesn’t pass a lot, his 14.3 per game 19th on his team, and his 0.5 key passes per game was ninth on Sao Paolo.

[ MORE: New York Red Bulls sign 14-year-old ]

But this isn’t as simple as wondering whether FC Cincinnati has done better than Atlanta did with Ezequiel Barco or Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez, nor is there a direct comparison to Diego Rossi’s move to LAFC.

It’s a genuine challenge to wrap your head around the exciting signing, especially considering that Major League Soccer’s proving ground is an uneven one. Top goalscorers in MLS are diverse in their styles but most don’t smash their way into the league’s game-changer category at Brenner’s young age, or even before their mid-20s.

A Brazil U-17 regular earlier in his career, Brenner is a center forward with status just beginning to find his powers.

His reported $13 million fee is in the ballpark of some similar recent moves in Brazil’s top flight, behind only three moves from the summer of 2020: Antony’s $17M move from Sao Paolo to Ajax, Pedrinho’s $20M transfer from Corinthians to Benfica, and Everton’s $22M sale from Gremio to Benfica.

How does Brenner compare to those non like-for-like players, in terms of production? In some ways it’s unfair if only because FC Cincinnati has captured a golden egg, the out-and-out center forward entering the prime of his career, but let’s look at the numbers of their last seasons in Brazil, side-by-side.

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Brenner’s Player Comparison tool

We can’t measure Brenner’s impact yet, but first seasons for the other three have seen two massive successes and one slow start. Antony is tearing up the Eredivisie with eight goals and eight assists in 1,241 minutes and Everton’s been effective at Benfica with three goals and four assists in 1,118. Pedrinho has struggled with just 205 minutes across nine appearances.

All of those leagues are almost unquestionably better in terms of top-to-bottom talent and depth than MLS, which is often buoyed by its stars, so the bar should be fairly high for Brenner while accounting for adjustment to a new culture. And definitely note that, right now, there is only one other South American on the roster in young Velez Sarsfield import Alvaro Barreal of Argentina.

It also might be worth comparing Brenner’s numbers at his age to other free-scoring Brazilians who are in our frame of reference.

Brenner turned 21 on Jan. 16 and primarily plays as a center forward, though he’s operated underneath the CF and on the left wing.

  • Gabriel Jesus was four months from his 20th birthday when he left Palmeiras for Manchester City on the heels of 17 goals and seven assists in under 2700 minutes between Serie A and the Copa Libertadores. He hit the ground running at City, scoring seven times with five assists in 741 minutes.
  • Gabriel Barbosa was still about to turn 20 when he went from Santos to Inter Milan, scoring 15 times with seven assists in his last 1.5 seasons in Brazil. He only scored twice and barely played in two seasons between Inter MIlan and Benfica before heading back to Santos, eventually moving back to Brazil full-time with Inter taking a $13 million bath.
  • How about Richarlison? More of a winger for sure, Watford bought him from Fluminese in 2017 off a 7-goal, 7-assist season in 18 appearances for about the same fee as Cincinnati did Brenner. Also 20, Richarlison scored five times with five assists in his lone season at Vicarage Road and was in Everton as a double-digit scorer within a year.
  • Watford tried the same trick in January 2020 with Joao Pedro, still 18 at the time of the move and coming off seven goals and two assists in 28 outings. He did not feature much in the Hornets’ relegation run-in, but has six goals and two assists this season for the promotion-chasing side.

Anyway, the overall point here is that there’s no reason to put too much of a ceiling on hope and hype for a big capture, especially if Cincinnati can feed the proverbial beast. The asks quite a bit of a team that’s lost 37 of 57 matches in MLS, producing just 43 goals in the process.

Southampton vs Wolves: How to watch live, stream link, team news


Southampton host Wolves in a huge relegation six-pointer in the Premier League and all of the pressure is on the hosts.


After a dreadful run of form which has seen new manager Nathan Jones lose six of his first seven Premier League games in charge, including a 3-0 drubbing at Brentford last week, Southampton sit bottom of the table. However, they are just three points from safety and badly need a win to unite their fanbase, players and coaching staff.

Wolves are looking so much better under new manager Julen Lopetegui as they hammered Liverpool 3-0 last time out to move further away from the bottom three. Lopetegui has won three of his six Premier League games in charge but they remain just two points off the relegation zone.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

Here’s everything you need for Southampton vs Wolves.

How to watch Southampton vs Wolves live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via

Key storylines & in-form players to watch

Saints are in freefall and if they lose this game it feels like Nathan Jones will lose his job. The Welsh coach went on a bizarre rant following their shellacking at Brentford and said he has pandered to others and hasn’t done his job properly ever since he arrived at Southampton in November. The owners are backing him, for now, but in midweek they admitted results have to improve. After spending big on deadline day to bring in forwards Paul Onuachu and Kamaldeen Sulemana, now is the time for Southampton to drag themselves off the bottom. If not, they could have a third manager of the season very soon.

Wolves were brilliant against Liverpool and have found a great system for the players they have with the 4-4-2 working wonders. Lopetegui is famed for having a solid foundation defensively but the big change has been Wolves being much better on the counter and finally finishing off chances. After bringing in Sarabia, Cunha, Lemina and Dawson in January they have added experience and quality in key areas and it seems to have given the entire club a lift.

Southampton team news, injuries, lineup options

Kyle Walker-Peters should be fully fit after a recent hamstring issue, while Alex McCarthy remains a doubt and Valentino Livramento and Juan Larios are definitely out. Onuachu and Sulemana should start, while Nathan Jones has favored a 3-5-2 formation in recent weeks so it will be intriguing to see if he persists with that despite fan unrest towards his tactics.

Wolves team news, injuries, lineup options

Chiquinho, Sasa Kalajdzic and Boubacar Traore remain out, while Pedro Neto will miss this game. Mario Lemina is a doubt, while Hwang Hee-chan is out after suffering a thigh injury. Adama Traore, Daniel Podence and Joao Moutinho could come into the starting lineup given these injuries.


West Ham vs Chelsea: How to watch live, stream link, team news


West Ham host Chelsea on Saturday in a massive London derby as both teams aim to kick-start their respective campaigns.


The Hammers have improved in recent weeks as they beat Everton and drew at Newcastle last time out. David Moyes’ men are still hovering just above the relegation zone but it looks like they will now kick on in the second half of the season and they usually fare well against their bitter London rivals Chelsea.

As for the Blues, they have won just once in their last six Premier League games but they are becoming very tough to beat, and score against, under Graham Potter. Three shutouts in a row have them on a three-game unbeaten run and now they have all of their January additions on board, expect Chelsea to climb closer to the top four.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

Here’s everything you need for West Ham vs Chelsea.

How to watch West Ham vs Chelsea live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 7:30am ET, Saturday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via

Key storylines & in-form players to watch

The Hammers are slowly getting back to their best and Nayef Aguerd has been in fine form at center back and is now fully fit after arriving in the summer. Jarrod Bowen, Lucas Paqueta and Michail Antonio have been among the goals in recent games and there is a menacing look to West Ham on the counter.

Chelsea’s new signing Enzo Fernandez made a great impact on his debut against Fulham last time out, while Badiashile has also impressed at center back, while Mudryk and Madueke are both getting up to speed on the wing. Joao Felix will finally be available again after he missed the last three games due to his red card on debut.

West Ham team news, injuries, lineup options

Kurt Zouma (thigh) and Maxwel Cornet (calf) remain out, while Gianluca Scamacca is battling back from a knee injury. Alphonse Areola and Thilo Kehrer are struggling with hamstring issues. It will be intriguing to see if Moyes starts with January signing Danny Ings up top in this game or if he continues with Michail Antonio as the focal point.

Chelsea team news, injuries, lineup options

N’Golo Kante, Christian Pulisic and Armando Broja remain out, while Wesley Fofana and Mateo Kovacic are close to being available. Denis Zakaria and Edouard Mendy are out too, but Joao Felix is back from suspension which gives Potter a very lively option up top and it would be no surprise if the Portuguese stars starts this game.


Premier League top scorers: Who is leading 2022 Golden Boot race?


For those tempted to write off Erling Haaland’s historically-hot start to life as a Premier League striker, it’s safe to say your temptation is now officially unhealthy.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ] 

There is something somewhat dull about knowing the identity of the 2022 Golden Boot winner, the lone curiosity being the final number of his final tally, we get it, but most of what Haaland is doing this season is simply marvelous and to be admired without much fear.

Haaland’s Premier League-leading 25 goals have him eight goals clear of the next closest challenger: Tottenham’s Harry Kane.

The Norwegian star piled up 20 goals in a single Premier League season faster than any player in history… by seven games (Kevin Phillips of Sunderland did it in 21). Now he’s within five goals of equalling Kevin Phillips’ record for most goals in a debut Premier League season.

And the later this season goes with him projected so far over the current record, the less chucking is accompanied by marking out the pace (especially considering Haaland was not beaten up by the World Cup, as Norway was not in the tournament). And even though Haaland is currently overperforming his expected goals total, it’s clear that projecting him for the Premier League record is rather realistic.

How many records can Haaland break?

Premier League Golden Boot

Haaland may not be likely to hit 50 goals given the schedule congestion to come for Man City, but the Premier League record is very well under assault and that figure isn’t entirely absurd. He’s played in 20 of Man City’s 21 games, scoring 25 goals.

Mohamed Salah holds the 38-game season record with his 32 goals scored for Liverpool during the 2017-18 season, while Newcastle’s Andy Cole and Blackburn’s Alan Shearer bagged 34 during 42-game seasons in the 20th century’s final decade.

Haaland also could topple the record for goal involvements (goals plus assists) in a single season, including beating the 42-game record. Alan Shearer put up 47 over 42, while Thierry Henry holds the 38-game record with 44.

Other records that Haaland could legitimately tie or topple:

  • 30 goals in a first Premier League season (Kevin Phillips, Sunderland, 1999-2000)
  • Goals in 24 different Premier League matches (Salah, Liverpool, 2017-18)
  • Most goals in a Premier League match (Five tied with five)
  • 11-straight Premier League games with a goal (Jamie Vardy, Leicester, 2014-15)

Read on to see the latest Premier League goal totals for the 2022-23 season, as Haaland looks to claim a Golden Boot in his first PL season.

Premier League 2022-23 Golden Boot race

    1. Erling Haaland, Man City — 25
    2. Harry Kane, Tottenham — 17
    3. Ivan Toney, Brentford — 13
    4. Aleksandar Mitrovic, Fulham — 11
    5. Rodrigo, Leeds United — 10
    6. Marcus Rashford, Manchester United — 10
    7. Miguel Almiron, Newcastle — 9
    8. Martin Odegaard, Arsenal — 8
    9. James Maddison, Leicester City — 8
    10. Roberto Firmino, Liverpool — 7
    11. Phil Foden, Man City — 7
    12. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool — 7
    13. Leandro Trossard — Brighton/Arsenal — 7
    14. Gabriel Martinelli, Arsenal — 7
    15. Harvey Barnes, Leicester City — 7
    16. Bukayo Saka, Arsenal — 7
    17. Callum Wilson, Newcastle — 7
    18. Wilfried Zaha, Crystal Palace — 6
    19. Pascal Gross, Brighton — 6
    20. Danny Ings, Aston Villa/West Ham — 6
    21. Gabriel Jesus, Arsenal — 5
    22. Daniel Podence, Wolves — 5
    23. Darwin Nunez, Liverpool — 5
    24. Alexis Mac Allister, Brighton — 5
    25. James Ward-Prowse, Southampton — 5
    26. Kai Havertz, Chelsea — 5
    27. Kaoru Mitoma, Brighton — 5
    28. Ollie Watkins, Aston Villa — 5
    29. Brennan Johnson, Nottingham Forest — 5
    30. Bruno Fernandes, Manchester United — 5
    31. Bryan Mbeumo, Brentford — 5
    32. Ruben Neves, Wolves — 5

Premier League table, 2022-23 season


If it’s the 2022-23 Premier League table you’re after, you’ve come to the right place.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

After the break for the 2022 World Cup, the Premier League is back with a bang and the start to 2023 has delivered plenty of fun.

Who’s looking like title contenders and/or favorites?

Almost at the halfway mark of the 2022-23 season, Arsenal and Manchester City are looking head and shoulders above the rest though Newcastle is not going away and Manchester United has surged into contention.

The Gunners will have their hands full for the duration of their title challenge, as Erling Haaland continues to take the Premier League by storm with an almost impossible goal-scoring record.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Uneven Tottenham are hanging in the top four battle, while Liverpool is struggling to stay in the Champions League scrap. Chelsea has some work to do while surprising Fulham, Brentford and Brighton are hanging around on the periphery with fine campaigns.

Who are the candidates for relegation?

Everton, Bournemouth, and Southampton currently occupy the relegation places.

But Leicester, West Ham, Wolves, and Leeds all find themselves within a few points of the bottom three after a topsy-turvy season so far.

Below you will find the latest Premier League table.

Premier League table – February 5

Premier League schedule
NBC’s Premier League scoreboard page

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