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Report: Liverpool signs Dutch teen Sepp van den Berg

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According to a report by Matt Law of The Telegraph, Liverpool has secured the $2 million signing of 17-year-old center-back Sepp van den Berg from Dutch club PEC Zwolle.

The report states that van den Berg is set for a medical with the club on Wednesday and that the Reds beat Bayern Munich and Ajax to the deal. It also states that Sampdoria was unsuccessful with a larger bid of $2.9 million back in January, and Liverpool has pounced with van den Berg set to enter the final year of his contract.

While van den Berg was a member of the PEC Zwolle first team last season, making 15 Eredivisie appearances and racking up 901 league minutes, the report states that van den Berg will take a season to integrate himself to the new squad and surroundings before challenging for a first-team spot with Liverpool. However, according to a report by the BBC, there is “belief” that van den Berg could potentially earn himself a place on the Liverpool first team that currently sports Virgil Van Dijk, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, and Dejan Lovren at his position.

It will help van den Berg immensely that Liverpool already sports Dutch international defender van Dijk as part of the roster as well as another current Dutch international in Georginio Wijnaldum. The youngster is currently a starter on the Dutch U-19 squad that narrowly missed out on qualification for the U-19 Euros later this summer, finishing a point behind Spain for the Group 4 lead after a brutal 1-0 loss to Spain back in March on a 90th minute goal.

Van den Berg would constitute Liverpool’s first signing of the summer should he join, with the Reds at this point not expected to be major players for any significantly large deals this summer.

FC Cincinnati hires first general manager

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One year into FC Cincinnati’s Major League Soccer voyage, it’s added another first to a long line of them: First general manager.

The name is Gerard Nijkamp, who was most notably the director of football at Eredivisie side PEC Zwolle before spending some time in Qatar.

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His resume with the Dutch side is solid, via FCCincinnati.com:

While in Zwolle, Nijkamp guided the club to a semifinal showing in the KNVB Cup (Dutch Cup) his first year, before winning it outright in his second season in 2013-14 and gaining a 2014-15 UEFA Europa League berth. That season they also won the 2014 Johan Cruyff Cup (Dutch Super Cup). While achieving PEC Zwolle’s best-ever Eredivisie finish (sixth) in 2014-15, the club also earned a berth in the Dutch Cup final. The club earned finishes in the top half of the Eredivisie table in 2015-16 (eighth) and 2017-18 (ninth).

Nijkamp’s priority will be finding the club’s next full-time manager, as Yoann Damet has been shepherding the club in an interim role since Alan Kock was fired early this season.

FCC started 2-2-2 but has won just one of its last 10 matches and sits seven points back of a playoff spot.

Man City adds center back Sandler from PEC Zwolle

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Manchester City has turned to the Netherlands for their latest young defender.

Philippe Sandler, 21, is coming to the Etihad Stadium from PEC Zwolle, where the center back also played some center mid.

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Sandler was one of Zwolle’s best players, going 2014 minutes in 23 appearances last season. He’s made four appearances with the Netherlands’ U-20 team.

He led the club in clearances per game (4.2) and was second in interceptions (1.9). It’s no surprise that he led Zwolle in several passing categories as well.

Americans Abroad review: Altidore shines, “Lex Luthor” wins it late

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With league play back in full swing and international breaks on the back burner for the moment, a number of Americans made their mark in play across the globe, but particularly in Europe.

Not as many Americans scored as we saw last week, but their teams continued to win and our boys were at the forefront of many.

In Premier League play, Jozy Altidore was on point as Sunderland picked up their first win of the season in the ever-important Tyne-Wear derby.  In a match that featured enough stripes to give anyone a headache, Altidore used his strength on multiple occasions to harass Newcastle and help his team.  He won the corner that led to their opening goal by warding off a defender, and he teed up Fabio Borini for the winner as time wound down.

What appeared a simple lay-off by Jozy to Borini was actually a brilliant bit of play.  Altidore caught the Newcastle defenders completely off-guard with the move, giving Borini ample space for the shot. It appeared that even the striker himself wasn’t aware of Borini’s presence until the last second, when he slammed on the brakes and set the ball up for the Italian to smash it home.

Tim Howard had a busy weekend in the Barclays Premier League.  The USMNT #1 shotstopper outdueled his international teammate Brad Guzan as Everton triumphed over Aston Villa 2-0, sending the Toffees up to fourth in the Premier League table. Howard was at the forefront of his team’s activity, saving a Christian Benteke penalty and denying the Belgian a host of other times during the match.

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Tim Howard saved a Christian Benteke penalty en route to Everton’s 2-0 win over Brad Guzan’s Aston Villa.

The 34-year-old then swapped his cleats for a headset, making his way to the broadcast booth where he paired up with Arlo White to commentate the Chelsea vs. Manchester City match for NBCSN.  It took the goalkeeper a few minutes to get comfortable behind the mic, but he performed nearly as admirably as he had on the pitch the day before. Arlo appropriately extended an open invitation for Howard to return, noting the excitement of the match was clearly due to the USMNT star’s presence.

Geoff Cameron started for Stoke City but the visitors couldn’t hang onto a 2-1 lead at Old Trafford as Stoke fell 3-2 thanks to Mexican international Javier Hernandez’s late winner.  Brek Shea did not make the matchday squad, strengthening his desire to go out on loan.

Over in Italy, Michael Bradley made an enormous stride towards returning to the starting lineup after returning from his ankle injury.  On as a 78th minute substitute, Bradley scored the winner for Roma with his first goal of the season as the Giallorossi stayed perfect through nine matches.

Maybe the greatest thing the goal brought this world is an absolutely outstanding new nickname for Bradley, dubbed by an Italian radio broadcaster calling the game.  Amid the broadcaster’s ear-piercing, high-pitched shrieks following Bradley’s goal, he refers to the American as “Lex Luthor.” If this doesn’t stick, I’m not sure what will.  Help us out USMNT fans, we here at ProSoccerTalk need to make this one permanent.

Under new manager Gertjan Verbeek, Timmy Chandler started at right-back and assisted FC Nurnberg’s only goal as they held Stuttgart to a draw and earned a valuable point on the road. The club was not able to get out of the relegation zone with the point earned but they gained ground on 15th-place Ausberg who fell to Bayer Leverkusen.  Chandler picked a good time to play well – USMNT assistant Andy Herzog was in attendence, could Timmy be on his way back?

Jermaine Jones could do nothing to stop Borussia Dortmund as his Schalke side fell 3-1 to the reigning Champions League runners up in the Rurh derby.  Jones was a 74th minute substitute, and he came on after all the scoring had taken place.

Red-hot Aron Johannsson didn’t score but his team AZ Alkmaar had a fruitful week of traveling. The youngster assisted Johan Berg Gudmannsson in their 1-1 with Shakhter Karagandy in during midweek Europa League play. AZ then defeated 5th-placed PEC Zwolle on the road in the Eredivisie 2-1.  The win put AZ into a tie for first place with Twente and Ajax.

Club Tijuana remained undefeated at home with their 0-0 draw against Tigres in Liga MX play. However, the sole point may not be enough to propel Tijuana to the postseason. Joe Corona, Edgar Castillo, and Paul Arriola all started for Club Tijuana, with Hercules Gomez coming on as a substitute.

DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco both started in Puebla’s 3-1 loss to Club America at Estadio Azteca.

Sasha Kleijstan needed just a single minute to net his first goal for Anderlecht in a 1-1 draw with table-toppers Standard Liege.  It’s a good bounceback from their 5-0 drubbing at the hands of PSG in the Champions League.

Timmy Chandler netted the winner for Rapid Vienna in the 88th minute as they beat Austria Vienna 1-0 in the Austrian Bundesliga.