New England Revolution

Matt Polster Rangers
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Report: Rangers sell one-time USMNT player Polster to New England

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An American abroad is coming home after an uneven time in Scotland.

Former Southern Illinois and Chicago Fire mainstay Matt Polster will return to Major League Soccer this summer with the New England Revolution.

Bruce Arena’s Revs will reportedly pony up about $375,000 to buy Polster from Rangers, where he signed on a free transfer in January 2019 following three-plus MLS seasons that saw him earn a USMNT cap.

[ MORE: Pulisic reacts to Hazard comparisons ]

He was called up to two January camps for the U.S., going 90 minutes at right back against Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2018. Polster was also a contributor to the U.S. Olympic qualification push in 2015.

Polster, 27, finishes his time with 10 appearances and an assist Steven Gerrard’s Glaswegian set, getting Scottish Premiership and Europa League experience this season.

A defensive midfielder and right back in MLS, Polster played only the latter with Rangers thanks to Scott Arfield, Ryan Jack, Steven Davis, and Glen Kamara chewing up minutes in the middle of the park.

Toronto FC adds Agudelo in Re-Entry Draft; Cincinnati picks Abdul-Salaam

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Few selections in Major League Soccer’s re-entry draft inspire true intrigue, but Toronto FC’s newest selection warrants a close look after what the Reds did in 2018.

The latest pick-up is Juan Agudelo from New England, and Toronto will be thrilled if he has the same impact as last season’s selection of Nick DeLeon, who scored 10 goals across all competitions in a career year. One of those was an MLS Cup-clinching wonder goal against Atlanta United.

[ MORE: MLS announces conference tweaks ]

The 27-year-old Agudelo is coming off two rough seasons in which he only scored three goals, but scored seven goals in each of his first three MLS seasons since returning from overseas, where he had signed for Stoke City but only appeared for FC Utrecht in the Netherlands having not gained a work permit.

Agudelo brings 28 USMNT caps and three goals to Greg Vanney’s Reds, and is now 27 years old.

The only other selection in Tuesday’s Stage 2 of the Re-Entry Draft was FC Cincinnati taking Saad Abdul-Salaam from Seattle Sounders, the former Akron man moving closer to where he starred in college.

Berhalter calls up 20 MLS players for USMNT pre-camp

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Gregg Berhalter cannot risk rust from his MLS-based players for November’s pivotal CONCACAF Champions League matches versus Canada and Cuba, and has called 19 players for a pre-camp from Nov. 2-9.

While the roster will undoubtedly have Christian Pulisic, Sergino Dest, and a bevy of European-based players, it will also have several MLS faces who have been eliminated by the playoffs or did not qualify altogether.

[ MORE: JPW’s Premier League picks ]

Berhalter has to make sure those players are fit and firing, and has included two players from sides eliminated from the MLS Cup Playoffs in the past two nights (Brad Guzan and Walker Zimmerman).

Uncapped defenders Chase Gaspar of Minnesota United and both Mark McKenzie of Philadelphia have been called up alongside McKenzie’s club teammate Brendan Aaronson and New England goalkeeper Matt Turner.

Djordje Mihailovic, Jonathan Lewis, and Jeremy Ebobisse are also back in the mix for the first time, while no MLS players called up in October has been dropped from the roster.

Toronto FC’s Michael Bradley and Seattle duo Cristian Roldan and Jordan Morris are understandably omitted due to MLS Cup Final duty.

The U.S. plays Canada in Florida on Nov. 15 and Cuba in the Cayman Islands four days later.

Pre-camp roster
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Atlanta United), Sean Johnson (New York City FC), Matt Turner (New England Revolution)
Defenders: Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Chase Gaspar (Minnesota United), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC)
Midfielders: Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes)
Forwards: Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake), Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew)

Brilliant Barco assist helps Atlanta outlast New England

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The game in 200 words (or less): Highly-favored at home, the reigning champions needed their goalkeeper to keep them alive against a New England Revolution side that only made the postseason via MLS’ decision to let almost everyone make it. Yes, Atlanta United dodged a bullet as Brad Guzan made six saves and Ezequiel Barco’s slick pass set up Franco Escobar for a brilliant winner with about 20 minutes to play. New England fought to the very death, but couldn’t take advantage of the absence of Miles Robinson.

[ MORE: Lampard “pleased” for Pulisic ]

Soon-to-retire Michael Parkhurst appeared to dislocate his shoulder late in a challenge with Cristian Penilla, and needed a lot of help to get off the field. Hopefully that wasn’t the last we see of him.

Atlanta will host either Philadelphia or the New York Red Bulls on Thursday evening.

Three things we learned

1. Guzan overcomes blip to stand tall: The longtime USMNT backup made a major error and nearly allowed New England in front but was otherwise sensational over 90 minutes in Georgia.

2. Martinez off, and Martinez off: While Frank De Boer opted to keep Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez out of the Starting XI, it was his star striker who nearly made him pay for the decision. Josef Martinez was not on his game, and lashed a should-be winner from his office over the goal in the first half before being stopped on by Turner on a 1v1 as the match neared stoppage time.

3. Barco makes the difference: Who knows if the 20-year-old Argentine will ever fully deliver on his promise, but the plays he made to set up Escobar’s goal was sensational. After dancing around a pair of defenders, he cut a shot pass between two defenders for the on-running Escobar to blast past Matt Turner.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Barco

Goalscorers: Escobar (70′)

LIVE — MLS Cup Playoffs begin; Atlanta, Seattle at home

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Reigning champs Atlanta United kick off a four-match docket as the MLS Cup Playoffs begin Saturday around North America.

[ FOLLOW: MLS Cup Playoffs live, box scores, stats ]

Pity Martinez starts on the bench for the Five Stripes, who are without injured USMNT back Miles Robinson.

Two other recent cup champions, Toronto and Seattle, are home later in the day, while Utah is the scene for the final match of the night.

Schedule

Atlanta United v. New England Revolution — 1 p.m. ET
Seattle Sounders v. FC Dallas — 3:30 p.m. ET
Toronto FC v. DC United — 6 p.m. ET
Real Salt Lake v. Portland Timbers — 10 p.m. ET

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