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QPR, longtime USMNT defender Geoff Cameron signs with Cincinnati

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CINCINNATI — Former U.S. national team defender Geoff Cameron has signed a two-year contract with Cincinnati of Major League Soccer.

The team said the deal announced Thursday includes a 2023 option.

[ MORE: Man Utd – Liverpool player ratings ]

The 35-year-old Cameron scored four goals in 55 appearances for the U.S. from 2010-17 and started three matches during the 2014 World Cup.

He has played for Houston (2008-12) in MLS and Stoke in England’s Premier League (2012-18) and second-tier League Championship (2018-19). He spent the past two seasons with Queens Park Rangers in the League Championship, appearing in 34 league matches and one FA Cup game this season.

“We have prioritized adding to our current backline and we welcome the opportunity to add Geoff Cameron to our team,” Cincinnati general manager Gerard Nijkamp said in a statement. “He has been a consistent contributor in nine seasons in England and we believe he will compete with our current players to earn regular minutes.”

A native of Attleboro, Massachusetts, Cameron signed with Houston after playing college soccer for West Virginia and Rhode Island.

Scott Parker rips VAR after Arsenal equalizer, details Fulham anger (video)

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Fulham came so close to a massive win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, with hopes of a win left dangling a few minutes after the Cottagers conceded a late equalizer to Eddie Nketiah.

VAR review decided that Arsenal’s Rob Holding was not offside when he didn’t play the ball before Nketiah tapped home off a late corner kick, and Cottagers boss Scott Parker was left fuming with the decision.

[ MORE: Three things learned from Arsenal – Fulham ]

Parker approached the referees on the field but saved his vitriol for the tunnel, where perhaps he thought the cameras wouldn’t be as prevalent and he wouldn’t put the officials on blast prior to his post-match comments.

Whoops.

Parker was caught lighting up the referee team, and he laid out his frustrations on NBCSN after the game.

Parker confounded by non-offside call, VAR system

“I’m disappointed and I’m gutted and the overriding factor is the team have given absolutely everything to come to a place like this against a very good side, managed to get a nose in front. We had to weather a little bit of course and we came under it quite a bit and in the last action, I’ve just seen it back. He just looks offside to me. Holding is standing in an offside position. People maybe don’t understand but that has a consequence of where my keeper’s positioning, where the defenders are, whether he’s gone for the ball or not, he’s two yards away from the goal line and he’s in an offside position. I just don’t know.”

Parker then went on to ask why the decision was taken “miles away.”

“Residing factor is that late decision and the rules of that. To be honest the linesman probably sees that he’s in an offside position. We then go upstairs to someone who is a few miles away and he just doesn’t see or maybe just takes the law to the letter and it’s just offside for me. I’m not just saying that because I’m standing on the edge of a loss, er, a draw, it’s because it’s football.”

Does he have a point?

Before we go any further, we should probably note that there are some pretty big admirers of Scott Parker on this site, so the proceeding will not be some sort of anti-Fulham tirade.

Look, if you hate what VAR is at its core then you can side with Parker. Fulham supporters are also welcome to do that.

That said, it’s not so much that Holding pulled back considering that Alphonse Areola laid out and got to the ball and review appeared to show he was not put off and maybe even not worried about Holding

It should also be said that there is almost as much interpretation in the pausing of a replay at a perceived moment for offside review as there is deciding what a goalkeeper is thinking.

There will never be a 100 percent successful rule, though that shouldn’t stop the PL and PGMOL from refining how it uses the rulebook and VAR.

And while Parker doesn’t get the same “cooling off” period American college sports gives its coaches and players before speaking to the media, in time he’ll accept that Fulham’s gotten as many perceived breaks as slights.

That’s probably irrelevant to this single case, but let’s also address the idea of going “miles away” to the VAR.

That is exactly where this decision should go unless the referee needs to weigh in on something ground-related. The best way to get the correct decision in most cases is to take the call out of the hands of a human who would certainly prefer to be proven correct.

Heartbreaking for Fulham nonetheless, who would’ve thought nothing was coming from this game and gladly taken one before kickoff, only to begin to believe in an unlikely three points and left dissatisfied by one!

MLS demands your attention with series of stunning Week 1 goals (video)

New York City FC v DC United
Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
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Major League Soccer’s Opening Day had a lot to do to break into the world headlines given a later start to the season that coincides with major European league run-ins, Lionel Messi starring in a Copa del Rey Final, and Chelsea upending Man City in the FA Cup semifinals.

MLS opted for the golazo route.

[ MORE: Sheffield Utd relegated | Norwich promoted ]

A series of outstanding goals drove the weekend in America, with big names, new faces, and under-the-radar kids delivering a wild amount of fun around MLS (and we’ve still got Vanney v Neville, a Cascadia Cup match, and a match-up of the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup winners).

How good were some of these goals? We left out one from Friday which may well win Goal of the Month anyway (though we must say that Randall Leal seems likely to have a hold on that).

Chicago Fire 2-2 New England Revolution

Since we’re about to see a lot of individual brilliance, let’s start with a team goal that would have Pep Guardiola raising a glass.

It isn’t surprising to see Chicago’s Robert Beric involved with a goal and an assist as Raphael Wicky’s Fire took a 2-0 lead on Bruce Arena’s Revs after just 11 minutes, but the lead up to his opening goal has just about everyone touching the ball.

This just fills the heart with joy.

New York Red Bulls 1-2 Sporting KC

Yes, Peter Vermes’ men got the last laugh, but allow us to include RBNY’s lone goal for a few reasons:

  • Caden Clark is 17 years old for another month and a week.
  • He has four goals in nine MLS matches after posting three goals and five assists in 12 USL Championship games.
  • He may be heading to RB Leipzig after the season
  • It’s a really good goal in a tight spot.

Nashville SC 2-2 FC Cincinnati

Let’s start in Tennessee, as Costa Rican star Randall Leal returns from giving the U.S. Olympic qualifying team a bunch of fits to deliver an audacious whirling ball into the upper reaches of the goal.

And with a crowd in Nashville, we also get the return of “Wait this could be…. yeah it’s going to be… dear God, he’s done it” glee from fans.

DC United 2-1 NYCFC

Ronny Deila’s gonna need some time to get his new pieces up to speed at NYCFC, but Hernan Losada’s got things a bit more settled as he begins life with the Black-and-Red.

Brendan Hines-Ike and Russell Canouse scored the goals for DC United after Valentin Castellanos put NYCFC ahead, and both of the hosts’ goals deserved to be part of a winning performance.

Hines-Ike went to Creighton and South Florida in college soccer before playing for Orebro and KV Kortrijk abroad. Whatever he needed to do to produce stuff like this, on loan from the latter, well, it was worth it.

Elsewhere

Houston Dynamo 2-1 San Jose Earthquakes
Seattle Sounders 4-0 Minnesota United
Orlando City 0-0 Atlanta United
LAFC 2-0 Austin FC
FC Dallas 0-0 Colorado Rapids
CF Montreal 4-2 Toronto FC
DC United 2-1 New York City FC
Chicago Fire 2-2 New England Revolution
Inter Miami v LA Galaxy — 3pm ET Sunday
Columbus Crew v Philadelphia Union — 5:30pm ET Sunday
Vancouver Whitecaps v Portland Timbers — 10pm ET Sunday

Premier League-bound? The next MLS youngsters with European futures

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The amount of young talent — whether from the USMNT, Canada or a handful of South American nations — thriving after making the jump from MLS to the Premier League or the rest of Europe has spiked in recent years, leading many on the other side of the pond wondering, “Who’s next?” ahead of the start of the 2021 season on Friday.

[ THE RUN-IN:  What’s the latest in the top-four battle? | Europa League race ]

As the standard of youth development continues to improve in the United States and Canada, so too will the quality of players entering, and departing, the league.

  • Daryl Dike is 20 years old and reportedly on the cusp of moving to the Premier League for somewhere between 10 and $20 million, thanks to a stellar loan spell at EFL Championship side Barnsley following a stellar rookie season (8 goals, 4 assists in 19 appearances) at Orlando City
  • 19-year-old right back Bryan Reynolds (FC Dallas) needed just 27 MLS appearances spread over a season and a half to secure his $8-million move (rising as high as $14 million) to Roma in January
  • Brenden Aaronson was the breakout star of MLS in 2020 and joined Red Bull Salzburg for just under $10 million after two seasons (54 appearances) for the Philadelphia Union
  • Other players, like Chris Richards have spent time in MLS academies (FC Dallas, in his case, and that of Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie) before moving to Europe without making a first-team appearance

The path taking players from MLS to Europe is clearer and friendlier than ever before, and the aforementioned recent success stories are merely the tip of the iceberg.

The below list debuts with just five players at the start of the season, but will undoubtedly expand as lesser-heralded youngsters showcase their talents and surge forward into the shop window.


Sam Vines, Colorado Rapids/USA

Age: 21 (May 31)
Position: Left back
Pro experience: 2 seasons (3,832 minutes)

What was once a barren wasteland of nothingness for the USMNT, the full back positions current runneth over with (almost) too much young, promising talent. Vines was one of a select few to show well during the USMNT under-23s’ Olympic-qualifying failure, and that was simply a continuation of two strong seasons in Colorado, where he has developed into one of the league’s steadiest outside backs. Vines’ range of passing — both on the ground and through the air as he looks to exploit gaps in the channels — is excellent and could eventually see him move to central midfield, where his lack of athleticism can be papered over.


Tajon Buchanan, New England Revolution/Canada

Age: 22 (Feb. 8)
Position: Forward
Pro experience: 2 seasons (1,751 minutes)

Buchanan is the typical late bloomer in MLS: he played two seasons in college (Syracuse) before he was drafted in 2019, making him 20 years old at the time of his debut; he struggled as a rookie (0 goals, 2 assists in 10 appearances) before becoming a regular under Bruce Arena in 2020 (2 goals, 2 assists in 23 appearances). The selling point with Buchanan is that he’s an elite athlete with good technical ability. Buchanan recently scored a brace for Canada’s under-23 team at the Olympic qualifying tournament and a few European clubs reportedly took notice.

MLS
(Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images)


Cole Bassett, Colorado Rapids/USA

Age: 19 (July 28)
Position: Midfielder
Pro experience: 3 seasons (2,442 minutes)

If not for Aaronson’s blistering 2020 season, Bassett would have reached darling status with his 5 goals, 5 assists (in just 15 appearances) as he helped the Rapids to the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Bassett is more goal-minded than Aaronson (more of a 9-and-a-half, if you will, compared to Aaronson as a versatile no. 10/no. 8/winger).


Diego Rossi, Los Angeles FC/Uruguay

Age: 23 (March 5)
Position: Forward
Pro experience: 6 seasons (3 in MLS – 7,481 minutes)

Rossi might just be the most talented player in MLS right now — a bold statement about someone who plays on the same team as Carlos Vela, but the numbers make an almighty strong case (43 goals, 22 assists in 88 MLS appearances). There were hushed rumors linking Rossi with a European move last summer, but the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic likely proved a stumbling block for most interested suitors. Rossi would go straight into most Europa League sides, but he won’t come cheap (15 or $20 million, minimum) given the established and further room for growth still on offer.


Caden Clark, New York Red Bulls/USA

Age: 17 (May 27)
Position: Midfielder
Pro experience: 1 season (355 minutes)

Clark just made his MLS debut in October, and he only needed 47 minutes to score his first goal — a fantastic volley from the edge of the box (below video) — and send the USMNT hype train into overdrive. While the teenaged Minnesota native still has a long way to go to develop before reaching his final career destination, Clark is the surest bet to move abroad in the next 12 months. Various reports claim a pre-agreement is already in place with RB Leipzig, where he would join USMNT midfielder Tyler Adams. Of course, an unexpectedly strong start to 2021 could see that timeline moved up by six months if Leipzig like what they see.

Jesse Marsch to Celtic? Analyzing the American’s best options

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Jesse Marsch has been linked with the vacant job at Celtic, but would that be a good move for the former USMNT player and assistant coach?

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA

Marsch, 47, has done an incredible job at the New York Red Bulls and now RB Salzburg as his evolution within the Red Bull family of clubs has been quite remarkable.

His success with Salzburg, winning the league and cup last season as well as coming close to reaching the UEFA Champions League last 16 this season, has Marsch on the radars of clubs across Europe’s top five leagues.

Many believe he will be the next man in charge at RB Leipzig (he was previously there as an assistant coach) when Julian Nagelsmann leaves, but his comments when asked about links to the Celtic job suggest otherwise.

“I’ve heard [about the links]. It’s an honor for me,” Jesse Marsch told BBC Sport. “Three or four years ago, being linked with a club like Celtic would literally be an impossibility for me. And now that this is where I am, I always just try to look at it in terms of, ‘what would the project look like?’

“Would we have similar ideas in how to build it the right way, invest in the academy, invest in young players and create this development process that I’m talking about? And not just focus on winning. Obviously I know that when you’re the coach of Celtic, winning is the most important thing.”

Marsch also recalled how the Red Bull group has a special link with Celtic and he took his most recent coaching badges in Scotland over a two-year period.

“When I spent the two years in the course there I really got the sense as to what an important club Celtic is to the people inside Scotland and what it means to the people of Glasgow,” Marsch said. “For me my full focus is on finishing my year in Salzburg and then I’ll evaluate in the summer the possibilities for a potential next step.” 

What would be the best move for Marsch?

That next step will be crucial in determining how Marsch’s long-term career will pan out. And it has to be the right next step.

Celtic are a huge club and can clearly compete in European soccer, and their battle for supremacy in Scotland with Steven Gerrard’s Rangers will be epic in the years to come.

Marsch would be a perfect man for the Celtic job, as his passionate speeches have been a feature of his time with the New York Red Bulls and in Salzburg and that would unite a club which needs new direction, impetus and fresh ideas from top to bottom.

But there is a sense that Marsch could be in line for even bigger jobs in England, Germany (with Schalke and Borussia Monchengladbach) or elsewhere.

The ‘Gladbach job in particular feels like a really good fit, especially as their soon-to-be-departing boss Marco Rose also moved from Salzburg to ‘Gladbach and there is a shared philosophy in developing young players.

USMNT fans want him to be in charge of the national team after Gregg Berhalter, which could clearly happen, but it feels like Marsch’s immediate future is in the club game in Europe.

This is something he has been building towards for a long time.

Marsch spoke with us at ProSoccerTalk back in 2014, during his time as an assistant at his alma mater Princeton College, and revealed he visited his close friend Bob Bradley in Egypt to learn about his experiences there as he and his family traveled around the world to explore everything they could.

The former midfielder with D.C. United, the Chicago Fire and Chivas USA was a former assistant coach for Bradley from 2011-12 and has certainly done the hard yards and tried to be as well-rounded as possible when it comes to his experience in Major League Soccer, Europe and across the world.

Marsch is the next top American coach, following on from his previous managers Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley, and the simple answer is that he should wait it out until the summer because a lot of jobs will become available and he will be at the very top of wishlists across Europe, including at Celtic.

That is a very exciting thing for Marsch, and a very exciting thing for young American coaches.

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