Antonio Nocerino

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Orlando City get Nocerino, DC United get cash as MLS transfer saga resolved

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Orlando City SC’s second season in MLS seems destined to be an immense improvement upon the club’s 2015 expansion campaign (the Lions finished 7th in the Eastern Conference and missed the MLS Cup Playoffs), if retaining the core of last year’s team and making a shrewd, cohesive offseason signing or two are anything to go on.

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Having kept the likes of Kaka, Cyle Larin, Brek Shea, Darwin Ceren and Cristian Higuita around for a second season; welcomed back Kevin Molino from a season-ending injury (knee); and addressed the situation in goal (Joe Bendik), Orlando City were already a markedly improved side ahead of the 2016 season.

Then they went and signed former Juventus, AC Milan and Italian national teamer Antonio Nocerino to bolster an already-loaded midfield unit, as was announced by the club on Thursday.

[ MORE: Yaya Toure prefers MLS over China | Latest on TimnHoward-to-MLS ]

Perhaps more notably, though, Orlando’s acquisition of the 30-year-old midfielder from AC Milan D.C. United concludes an ongoing saga that essentially amounted to the two MLS sides arguing over who called dibs — “discovered,” to use MLS terminology — on the player first, as part of the league’s over-meddlesome player acquisition mechanisms.

United held Nocerino’s MLS “rights” through to the league’s discovery process, despite the fact the player had 1) never before played in the league, and 2) actually preferred to sign for Orlando rather than United. If this sounds at all familiar, it’s the same thing that happened when Didier Drogba landed with the Montreal Impact last season, despite the Chicago Fire holding his pre-arrival MLS rights.

[ MORE: MLS also an option in John Terry’s post-Chelsea career ]

In this instance, United received both general allocation money and targeted allocation money in exchange for Nocerino’s MLS rights. With a satisfactory deal now agreed, United will not file an official tampering charge against Orlando, as they had previously considered, according to the Washington Post.

Yay, complicated MLS rules that take way too many words to explain and are often times difficult to remember in full.

Report: Milan says Nocerino sale to Orlando City to be formalized Monday

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Football Italia says the sale of Antonio Nocerino to Orlando City will be completed on Monday

The 30-year-old was first whispered as a target for DC United before Orlando emerged as a destination, a move that caused some consternation due to Major League Soccer’s controversial Discovery Process.

[ SERIE A: Juventus wins 15th-straight to replace Napoli at No. 1 ]

Capped 15 times between 2007-2012, Nocerino has spent his entire career in Italy with the exception of a loan to West Ham United in 2014.

From Football Italia:

“Tomorrow we will terminate our rapport with Nocerino, who will go to play in Orlando,” Galliani told Mediaset Premium. “With that move, our transfer activity will be finished for this session.”

“Football has changed so much, until a few years ago nobody went to China or the United States. The sport is becoming more globalised.”

The reunion with Kaka obviously helps strengthen Orlando City’s midfield, and the Lions will be daydreaming of the impact Sebastian Giovinco made coming from Serie A to MLS.

Report: MLS demands Orlando stop courting Nocerino because DC called dibs

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That headline: it’s pretty much the whole story.

We told you earlier this week that Orlando City was after AC Milan midfielder Antonio Nocerino on a loan deal. Nocerino, 30, is pals with OCSC midfielder Kaka and a reunion may’ve suited the pair.

[ MORE: Premier League roundup — Spurs leap Arsenal, Man United rolls ]

Well it turns out DC United filed a Discovery claim on Nocerino and was already talking to him. Major League Soccer uses the Discovery Process to allow teams to call dibs on foreign players in case said players ever have interest in entering the league.

DC thought negotiations were going well with Nocerino, but Orlando had stepped in. The Lions do not have the best reputation when it comes to “tampering” and all heck kinda broke loose. We’ll turn to Washington Post soccer reporter Steven Goff for more:

General Manager Dave Kasper and managing general partner Jason Levien met with Nocerino in Milan last week. Initial reports suggested Nocerino probably would not end up signing with United. However, the club has remained in contact with the player’s representatives and, according to one source, was encouraged by recent discussions.

United officials declined comment, but one source familiar with the drama said they were “irate” with Orlando and that the “meddling” had disrupted negotiations and provided the player’s agent with additional bargaining leverage.

Because Orlando didn’t buy the discovery rights from DC, the Floridian club is in hot water.

While the rule itself is, well, rough, it’s clear that Orlando was playing a bit of dirty pool here. While I’m not sure anyone actually thinks the Discovery Process is good for the league — I call Messi, Pogba, Hulk, Aguero, Kondogbia, Butland and Ozil — Orlando knew what it was doing.

Read the whole article. It’s a wild world in MLS right now.

La Liga and Serie A roundup: Chicharito scores twice in Real Madrid victory, Napoli downs Sampdoria

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The season’s end of club soccer in Europe is drawing to a close with many sides still inging for better standing in their league tables.

In Spain and Italy, several matches occurred on Sunday in each country’s top-flight, and some had implications in the quest for late-year excellence.

Real Madrid 4-2 Celta Vigo: Cristiano Ronaldo was on the pitch for Real Madrid and was never substituted off, but he wasn’t necessarily the focal point of Los Blancos‘ third consecutive win. It was Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez who started the game and scored half of Real’s total to give him a four goals in the past four games. Hernandez’s first arrived as the consequence of some crafty interplay with young Colombian star James Rodriguez (also a scorer in this one), and the next one was a fine finish from Sergio Ramos’ assist. Toni Kroos’ long-range effort in the 16th minute leveled the score following Nolito’s game-opener. To make the score 2-2, Santi Mina netted an equalizer from his strike that rebounded off the post in the 28th minute.

[RELATED: Saturday’s roundup]

Sevilla 2-0 Rayo: Sevilla is doing their best to qualify for the Champions League next season, and this win over 11th place Rayo has ushered them closer to that goal. Defensive midfielder Vicente Iborra buried the first goal of the contest in the 16th minute when Diogo Figueiras set him up, and two minutes prior to the half, Daniel Carrico headed Denis Suarez’s cross into the net’s corner for the 2-0 advantage. Rayo pushed hard to generate some threatening offensive possession in the second half, and Gael Kakuta and Alejandro Pozuelo had endeavors that could’ve changed the game. Still, it was clear that Sevilla, now one point ahead of fifth-place Valencia and six points behind third-place Atletico Madrid, had more to fight for.

Other La Liga results from today

Malaga 1-1 Deportivo

Almeria 2-0 Eibar

 

Results from Saturday

Espanyol 0-2 Barcelona

Getafe CF 0-1 Levante

Real Sociedad 0-0 Villarreal

Atletico Madrid 3-0 Elche


 

Napoli 4-2 Sampdoria: An own-goal from Napoli center back Raúl Albiol gave Sampdoria the early 12th-minute lead and stunned the home supporters at the Stadio San Paolo. But the Little Donkeys, who are vying for the best finish possible with several other squads in Serie A’s top five, turned the tide rapidly. In the 31st minute, Il Doria goalkeeper Manolo Gabbiadini regretfully let in Napoli’s opener from Manolo Gabbiadini, and three minutes later, Gabbiadini fed Gonzalo Higuaín for the 2-1 lead. Lorenzo Insigne’s goal, a late effort from Sampdoria’s Luis Muriel and a penalty-kick conversion from Higuaín wrapped up the scoring, as Napoli is currently three points away from Lazio in second place.

Parma 1-0 Palermo: Parma had braved a season of financial doubt, amid reports that the club, having transportation issues and a short supply of hot water, declared bankruptcy in March. Situated deep in the table at last place, holding 16 total points on the season, little has been expected of the Crusaders. Nonetheless, based on a 1-0 victory over mid-table Palermo, it appears the Italian bottom dwellers are not calling it quits quite yet. When Antonio Nocerino buried the penalty kick after Massimo Gobbi was hauled down in the box, Parma had grabbed the key advantage needed to walk away with a confidence boosting victory, but the outfit is fifteen points away from escaping demotion with just six games left.

Other Serie A results from today

Atalanta 2-2 Empoli

Torino 2-1 Juventus (first derby win in 20 years)

Fiorentina 1-3 Cagliari

Lazio 1-1 Chievo

Verona 3-2 Sassuolo

Genoa 3-1 Cesena

 

Results from Saturday

Udinese 2-1 Milan

Inter Milan 2-1 Roma

Watch Live: West Ham United vs. Crystal Palace (Lineups and Discuss)

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It’s a battle for guaranteed Premier League safety at Upton Park today, with both West Ham and Crystal Palace able to secure another season in the top flight if they manage to get all three points (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET online via Live Extra).

West Ham, currently on 37 points, are seven points clear of the drop and look unlikely to be relegated. Still, assurance of safety would be nice. Alas, the Irons need more than just a win: for a guarantee of Premier League play next season, they also need Fulham, Cardiff and Sunderland all to lose.

It’s the visitors that are more likely to secure a second consecutive season in the top flight. Tony Pulis, the man that’s never been relegated, just needs his side to get all three points – it matters not at all what other results this weekend are. And with four wins in a row for Crystal Palace, another victory certainly doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility.

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It’s no surprise that Pulis elects to keep his starting XI steady, making just one change from the midweek 3-2 win over Everton. Marouane Chamakh is replaced by Joe Ledley, producing the same starting lineup that beat Aston Villa last weekend. Of course, Jason Puncheon, with four goals in last three matches, gets the nod.

After the midweek defeat at Arsenal, Sam Allardyce is hoping to shake things up, making two changes to his starting lineup. George McCartney is in for Guy Demel, while Kevin Nolan replaces Antonio Nocerino, who drops to the bench once more.

LINEUPS

West Ham United: Adrian, McCartney, Tomkins, Reid, Armero, Noble, Diame, Nolan Downing, Carroll, Jarvis

Subs: Taylor, O’Brien, Jaaskelainen, C.Cole, J.Cole, Johnson, Nocerino

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Ward, Digkacoi, Jedinak, Puncheon, Bolasie, Ledley, Jerome

Subs: Hennessey, Gabbidon, Parr, Guedioura, Ince, Gayle, Murray