Joel Soria

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Belarusian Premier League roundup: Isloch edges Slavia Mozyr (video)

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The Belarusian Premier League – the only active European top-flight league at the moment – continued on Saturday despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Isloch 2-1 Slavia Mozyr

Despite the first half showing little signs of life, Satuurday’s bout between Isloch and Slavia Mozyr had an action-packed second half, featuring three goals in the final 30 minutes of play.

With goals from captain Dmitri Komarovsky from the penalty spot and from Nikolai Yanush, Isloch walked away with three points for the first time in two rounds of the Belarusian Premier League. 

In the 77th minute, Slavia Mozyr got a quick sense of joy, with Francis Narh’s goal putting the visitor’s only a goal behind the draw. The goal would result as a consolation goal, however, as Isloch managed register the win despite the thin margin.

As a result, Isloch move fifth in the table after five rounds into the Belarusian top-flight campaign.

Elsewhere in Belarusian Premier League 

Rukh Brest 1-0 FC Minsk 

Vitebsk 1-0 Dinamo Brest

BATE Boristov 0-0 Torpedo

Rooney: MLS taking advantage of trade structure, hindering American players

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Manchester United legend and former D.C. United Designated Player Wayne Rooney laments the way in which Major League Soccer owners take “advantage” of the league’s trade and transfer system.

MLS’ trade and transfer system, partly influenced by other top American sports leagues, has earned the league the reputation of being the world’s most complicated and complex soccer league in the past. Every season, like in the NBA, NFL, NHL, or MLB, dozens of players are traded within the league, with little to no transparency on the process.

Speaking to Perfect Soccer’s “Ask A Pro Show,” founded and hosted by MLS veteran Quincy Amarikwa, Rooney questioned the way the league’s owners are exploiting their players via the system and said that American players, specifically, are bearing the brunt of it all.

“I didn’t realize it before, but obviously when I got there (MLS), I seen it,” Rooney told Amarikwa, who was his teammate at D.C. United. “My first week, we had a player who, when he finished training, he got told he was getting transferred onto somewhere else. I was like, ‘Why? What’s going on here? Where is he going? What’s going on?’ So, it’s difficult. I spoke to Steve (Birnbaum) a lot. I was like, “Can he do that? Is it that easy to do? Is it that easy to actually move someone on?’ There’s no thought behind it in terms of this person might have a family, children…. a life here. They might get told, ‘You know what? Move on.'”

I know it works that way in basketball (NBA) and in NFL, but those players get paid millions and millions of pounds. So, they look forward to have to do that, where MLS players can’t. They probably get a small percentage of money which won’t even cover the bills, won’t even cover what they have to live on. It’s wrong for that to happen. I think MLS needs to really look at that because, from seeing it, a lot of them owners are taking advantage of the league [structure], which is affecting American players. It might benefit [others]. For me, I went there for 18 months, Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] was there for two years. We benefited from getting good adaptation in the USA, scoring a few goals. But for the guys who you leave behind, which I’ve never gotten to speak to, it still sits wrong with me, deep inside of me, which I don’t think is the case with all foreign players who are coming in.

During his time in the league, Rooney, who left MLS in August 2019 with two years left in his contract, slammed the league for its travel arrangements, which provides its franchises a few charter options per season.

The 34-year-old ended his 18-month spell in the nation’s capital with 25 goals in 52 appearances, before returning to his native England to join Derby County as a player-coach.

MLS to get its kicks with 5-week video game tournament

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Sporting Kansas City midfielder Wan Kuzain is more than your average gamer. He’s got street cred.

That’s because when he was 17, Kuzain accepted a challenge from noted video game enthusiast (and former NFL player) Chad Johnson – and beat him.

The former Pro Bowler known as Ochocinco tweeted afterward that the “losing experience was worse than the time I lost my virginity” and added a crying emoji.

So it’s no surprise that Kuzain will be Sporting’s representative in a virtual MLS tournament starting Sunday. A number of the league’s top players, including Chicharito and Nani, will participate in the nationally televised event.

It goes like this: Two players from opposing teams will face off in EA Sports’ FIFA 2020 game. Then the league’s eMLS players will compete in a second leg. The losing team is eliminated. Fox Sports soccer commentators will call the action over the five-week event.

Other sports have also moved to virtual competition during the coronavirus pandemic, notably NASCAR. Like the already established eMLS competition, NASCAR had an iRacing Series for gamers. Drivers joined when COVID-19 suspended real races.

Individual athletes, including Meyers Leonard of the Miami Heat and Women’s World Cup winner Allie Long, are also playing regularly on Twitch, a live streaming platform. The Phoenix Suns played out the season after the season was suspended on NBA 2K20 on Twitch.

One of the highlights Sunday will be a virtual ‘El Trafico’ rivalry match, pitting LA Galaxy striker Javier Hernandez, better known as Chicharito, against LAFC forward Adama Diomande.

MLS Works and FOX Sports will make a donation on behalf of the winning team to Feeding America after each episode. Donations will also be made to Food Banks Canada.

“You’ll see in some instances we’ve got some real gamers among our professional players. They’re going to show up to win. So while it is a great cause, we’re also out to entertain. I think you’ll see a real competitive edge come through as well, ” said Camilo Durana, the league’s senior vice president of properties and events.

Now 21, Kuzain said he’s been playing FIFA since the 2012 edition.

Kuzain was part of Sporting’s academy team before he was signed to the team’s USL affiliate, the Swope Park Rangers.

One day around that time he noticed that Chad Johnson was in the Kansas City area. Johnson was known at the time for dropping in on random gamers to play FIFA, so Kuzain – who had a picture of himself playing soccer on his Twitter profile – tweeted at him. The next thing he knew, Johnson was at his door.

“We played a couple of games. I’d say three or four,” Kuzain said. “He was really good. He was definitely worth all the tweets and commotion that he’s caused within the FIFA community.”

Afterward, Kuzain showed Johnson around a bit, taking him to the local indoor soccer complex.

“Like it’s crazy how nice he is and how he just can fit so many people that he doesn’t know into his schedule like that. So I’m really thankful for that experience,” Kuzain said. “And he did send a nice little tweet, and that was our promise, if I beat him he would shout me out.”

Kuzain signed with Kansas City’s first team as a Homegrown Player in 2018. He appeared in Sporting II’s first game before the season was suspended because of the coronavirus.

Asked if he was the best gamer among his Kansas City teammates, Kuzain didn’t mince words.

“It might hurt some feelings,” he said. “but I would say yeah, for sure.”

Manchester City sign Peruvian starlet from Alianza Lima

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Manchester City have agreed in principle to sign 16-year-old right-back Kluiverth Aguilar from Alianza Lima, the Peruvian club announced on Sunday.

Aguilar, who made his professional debut with Alianza in November, and is considered one of Peru’s most promising talents, will officially join the Premier League defending champions in May 2021, shortly after his 18th birthday.

“Going to [Manchester] City is really big deal for my career, I am happy that they noticed me,” said Aguilar in the Peruvian club’s statement. “It is a club with extraordinary players, coach and supporters. My goal is to become an outstanding player in the first team.”

Aguilar’s move to Manchester – reportedly valued at $2.8 million – is Alianza’s first successful deal with a Premier League club in its 119-year history. The Peruvian club is expected to obtain a percentage of a future sale involving Aguilar, who was first linked to a move to City in September.

“I’m a fan of the team (Alianza) and it’s a pleasure to defend the colors. It makes me happy that the possibility of making a move to Europe presented itself to me as a player of Alianza,” Aguilar added.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Maddison ‘very happy’ at Leicester City, Tagliafico chased by Barcelona

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Despite the inactivity, transfer news all across Europe continues to brew up.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Time and time again this season, Leicester City’s star James Maddison has been linked to a move out of King Power Stadium, with Manchester United reportedly topping the list of preferred next destinations for the 23-year-old.

But the past speculations seem to have been thrown at the window, as Maddison recently claimed he feels “very, very happy” at Leicester despite the outside noise of a big-time transfer.

“I feel right at home at Leicester,” the attacking midfielder  said. “I feel like part of the furniture already and I love it here. I love the lads, I love the fans, (we’ve got) a great manager, so I’m very, very happy.”

The England international has made noise this season with the Foxes, following his nine goals and three assists throughout all competitions.

Time will tell what step the creative attacker will take next. What’s for sure is that Maddison has made it clear that he’s not in a rush to leave Leicester for good.


According to a report from Mundo Deportivo, La Liga giants Barcelona are closely monitoring Ajax and Argentina full-back Nicolas Tagliafico.

The 27-year-old was linked to a move to Spain last year, however, with Junior Firpo possibly on his way out of the Camp Nou this summer, the Blaugrana will reportedly launch a bid for the Ajax player.

Tagliafico’s agent reportedly has spoken with Barcelona on a number of occasions to discuss a deal. The Spanish defending champions are one of many top European sides looking for the defender’s signature this summer, however.