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FC Cincinnati buys Caleb Stanko from Bundesliga’s Freiburg

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FC Cincinnati has added another tool to its MLS expansion workshop, and this one carries an extra amount of intrigue.

American soccer fans have seen very little of 25-year-old Caleb Stanko aside from a 19-minute cameo for the USMNT in World Cup qualifying.

[ MORE: Latest on missing Sala flight ]

A defensive midfielder with experience at center back and playing on the right, Stanko has battled injuries during his time with German side Freiburg. He made six Bundesliga appearances in 2017-18, a year after going on loan to Swiss side Vaduz.

Stanko hails from Michigan, and joins a list of impressive additions that includes Allan Cruz, Alvas Powell, and Kendall Waston. From FCCincinnati.com:

“We are happy to add Caleb to our roster,” FC Cincinnati Head Coach Alan Koch said. “We look for versatility in our central midfielders and we feel he can fill a number of roles depending on the personnel we have on the pitch. We look forward to Caleb competing immediately within our group.”

There’s been a lot of hand-wringing over FC Cincinnati’s roster build-out by those fearing that the new MLS club could go the way of Minnesota United in thinking its USL players would be enough for Major League Soccer.

Turns out there was a lot more time left in the offseason.

Steffen wins USMNT award; Speaks on Man City transfer

AP Photo/John Raoux
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Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen has been named U.S. Soccer’s Male Athlete of the Year.

The longtime Columbus Crew backstop, who will be with the club until summer, was the 2018 Major League Soccer Goalkeeper of the Year.

[ MORE: Zlatan a new DP with Galaxy ]

For country, Steffen earned his first six USMNT caps. One of those was a stunning performance in a 1-1 draw against France.

Steffen, 23, says he’s honored to be among the list of award winners in USMNT history.

He also talked about his upcoming move to Man City, via USSoccer.com:

“They’re a top-five team in the world – if not the best right now. I’m well aware of how good Ederson is, and I know I need to grow and get better in a lot of different areas. But my mentality is that when I get over there, I want to play. I’m really highly motivated to get the most out of these next six months in Columbus, and hopefully with the national team. I’m going to really push myself so that when I get to Manchester next summer, I’m that much more confident and prepared.”

Alex Mendez won the Young Male Player of the Award award, and like Steffen he’ll leave the U.S. for a new club in 2019.

The LA Galaxy product, 18, scored a goal with three assists for LA Galaxy II in the USL this season, and will join Freiburg — Steffen’s former club — in January.

Mendez will star for the U.S. U-20s at the World Cup in Poland this summer after appearing in 13 matches for the team this year.

U.S. Soccer provided this list of previous award winners.

Year Male Player of the Year Young Male Player of the Year
2018 Zack Steffen Alex Mendez
2017 Christian Pulisic Josh Sargent
2016 Jozy Altidore (2) Christian Pulisic
2015 Michael Bradley Matt Miazga
2014 Tim Howard (2) DeAndre Yedlin
2013 Jozy Altidore Wil Trapp
2012 Clint Dempsey (3) Rubio Rubin
2011 Clint Dempsey (2) Brek Shea
2010 Landon Donovan (4) Gale Agbossoumonde
2009 Landon Donovan (3) Luis Gil
2008 Tim Howard Sacha Kljestan
2007 Clint Dempsey Michael Bradley
2006 Oguchi Onyewu Jozy Altidore
2005 Kasey Keller (3) Benny Feilhaber
2004 Landon Donovan (2) Eddie Johnson
2003 Landon Donovan Freddy Adu
2002 Brad Friedel Bobby Convey
2001 Earnie Stewart DaMarcus Beasley
2000 Chris Armas Landon Donovan
1999 Kasey Keller (2) Ben Olsen
1998 Cobi Jones Josh Wolff
1997 Kasey Keller
1996 Eric Wynalda
1995 Alexi Lalas
1994 Marcelo Balboa (2)
1993 Thomas Dooley
1992 Marcelo Balboa
1991 Hugo Perez
1990 Tab Ramos
1989 Mike Windischmann
1988 Peter Vermes
1987 Brent Goulet
1986 Paul Caligiuri
1985 Perry Van der Beck
1984 Rick Davis

Stunner leads U.S. to U-20 World Cup berth

Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images
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Alex Mendez and Ulysses Llanez scored first half goals and the United States U-20 men’s national team cruised to a 4-0 win over Costa Rica at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship semifinals on Friday.

The win means the U.S. needs a draw or better against Honduras on Monday to set up a match-up with Mexico or Panama in the Nov. 21 final in Bradenton, Florida.

Costa Rica is out unless the U.S. beats Honduras by more than four goals.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Best XI for summer Gold Cup

Juan Pablo Torres and Ayo Akinola also scored for the U.S., who can make plans for the summer in Poland.

Mendez’s goal was a masterpiece, the Freiburg center mid slashing a left-footed ball into the Upper 90. Mendez is an LA Galaxy Academy product.

Bundesliga wrap: BVB takes 4-point lead into Der Klassiker

Peter Steffen//dpa via AP
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Niko Kovac’s Bayern Munich dropped points at home on Saturday, while Lucien Favre’s Borussia Dortmund found the goal it needed to get a win ahead of next Saturday’s big Der Klassiker at the Westfalenstadion.

[ MORE: Arsenal draws Liverpool ]

Bayern hosts AEK Athens in the Champions League on Wednesday while Dortmund visits Atletico Madrid a day earlier.

Bayern Munich 1-1 Freiburg

Lucas Holer’s 89th minute goal stunned the Allianz Arena, which had seen Bayern out-attempt the visitors 25-9 and hold Freiburg without a shot on target. Serge Gnabry‘s 80th minute goal was all the Bavarians could manage at home.

Wolfsburg 0-1 Borussia Dortmund

A very even game saw just one moment separate the two, as Jadon Sancho‘s cross soared over American center back John Brooks and Thomas Delaney headed back across goal for Marco Reus to head home.

BVB now has a four-point hold on the table lead in its bid to win a first title since 2012 and end Bayern’s six-season run as Bundesliga champions.

[ MORE: Leicester honors Srivaddhanaprabha ]

Hertha Berlin 0-3 RB Leipzig

Timo Werner scored twice for the third time this season — he has zero goals in his other eight league matches — as RBL picked up three nice away points.

Matheus Cunha, 19, scored his first Bundesliga goal for RBL, who sits a point behind second place Bayern.

Elsewhere
Stuttgart 0-3 Eintracht Frankfurt — Friday
Bayer Leverkusen 1-4 Hoffenheim
Schalke 3-1 Hannover 96
Augsburg 2-2 Nurnberg
Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Fortuna Dusseldorf — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Mainz vs. Werder Bremen — Noon ET Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Borussia Dortmund 10 7 3 0 30 10 20 4-1-0 3-2-0 24
 Bayern Munich 10 6 2 2 18 11 7 2-2-1 4-0-1 20
 RB Leipzig 10 5 4 1 19 9 10 3-2-0 2-2-1 19
 Eintracht Frankfurt 10 5 2 3 23 13 10 2-1-1 3-1-2 17
 Mönchengladbach 9 5 2 2 20 12 8 4-0-0 1-2-2 17
 Werder Bremen 9 5 2 2 17 14 3 2-2-1 3-0-1 17
 1899 Hoffenheim 10 5 1 4 22 14 8 2-1-2 3-0-2 16
 Hertha BSC Berlin 10 4 4 2 15 13 2 3-1-1 1-3-1 16
 FC Augsburg 10 3 4 3 18 16 2 1-3-1 2-1-2 13
 SC Freiburg 10 3 4 3 14 16 -2 2-2-1 1-2-2 13
 VfL Wolfsburg 10 3 3 4 14 15 -1 1-2-3 2-1-1 12
 Bayer Leverkusen 10 3 2 5 16 21 -5 1-1-3 2-1-2 11
 FC Schalke 04 10 3 1 6 8 12 -4 2-0-3 1-1-3 10
 1. FC Nürnberg 10 2 4 4 11 22 -11 2-2-1 0-2-3 10
 FSV Mainz 05 9 2 3 4 5 10 -5 2-2-1 0-1-3 9
 Hannover 96 10 1 3 6 12 21 -9 1-1-2 0-2-4 6
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 9 1 2 6 6 21 -15 1-0-4 0-2-2 5
 VfB Stuttgart 10 1 2 7 6 24 -18 1-1-3 0-1-4 5

Transfer rumor roundup: Soyuncu to Arsenal, Martial staying put

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images
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The Manchester Evening News says Manchester United has no intention of selling Anthony Martial this summer.

The report notes that Martial will remain with Alexis Sanchez and Marcus Rashford as United left wingers, and that United is going to continue its recruitment of Willian and Gareth Bale. In the case of Willian, MEN writer Samuel Luckhurst says United has already had some discussions with the Chelsea star.

[ MORE: Messi talks future ]

Speaking of United, the Red Devils and rivals Manchester City were reportedly both rebuffed in bids to take advantage of Inter Milan’s Financial Fair Play problems, tossing $62 million bids the way of the Italian club in hopes of prying center back Milan Skriniar from Serie A.

Skriniar, 23, played every league minute for Inter, scoring four goals and averaging 2.3 tackles and 4.5 clearances per game.

According to Sky Sports:

Both clubs made the approach for the Slovak knowing Inter need to raise around €40m (£35m) before June 30 to avoid falling foul of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules, but the Nerazzurri deem the 23-year-old unsellable after his outstanding debut season.

Newcastle United could spring a Liverpool reunion, with Martin Skrtel reportedly being offered to Rafa Benitez’s Magpies for just under $5 million. Skrtel, 33, scored thrice for Fenerbahce this season, leading the team in clearances with an audacious 7.3 per game. Only one player, Osmanlispor’s Yalcin Ayhan, had more (7.9) in all of the Turkish Super Lig.

Staying in Turkey, 21-year-old national team defender Caglar Soyuncu had some interesting comments on his recruitment. He’s currently with Freiburg, and confirmed Arsenal’s interest.

“Arsenal are one of the most important clubs in England,” he said. “I know they’re interested in me, but there’s nothing finalized yet about my transfer. After the national team camp we’ll have talks.”