Shaun Maloney

Done Deals: Liverpool’s Markovic goes on loan, Llorente heads back to La Liga

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With the close of the transfer window quickly approaching, check out what deals have been completed as teams look to build up their rosters before the Sept. 1 deadline.

[ MORE: Latest transfer news ]

Lazar Markovic, for whom Liverpool spent $30 million last summer, will spend the next eight months of his professional career in Turkey, where he’ll play for 2015-16 UEFA Europa League side Fenerbahce. The loan agreement for Markovic, who scored two league goals in 19 appearances in his first season at Anfield, does not include an option for the Turkish club to purchase the 21-year-old Serbian winger on a permanent basis, as Brendan Rodgers believes his future still lies with the Reds.

Elsewhere in Europe, Fernando Llorente, who spent the last two seasons with four-time defending Serie A champions Juventus, has opted to move to Sevilla after failing to beat a whole host of center forwards in order to lock down a regular starting spot after signing from Athletic Bilbao in the summer of 2013. In total, the 30-year-old striker scored 23 league goals in 65 appearances for the club.

In Major League Soccer news, the Chicago Fire announced that Designated Player, midfielder Shaun Maloney, has been transferred to Championship side Hull City. In his 14 MLS games, the Scottish international scored three goals and notched two assists.

[ MORE: De Bruyne-to-Man City talk persists | More De BruyneHeung-Min Son to Spurs? ]

Joey Barton, most recently of the relegated Queens Park Rangers side last season, has been a free agent since the expiration of his contract at the beginning of the summer. On Thursday, Barton put to bed years months weeks days literally no speculation over his future when it was announced that Burnley, who were also relegated from the Premier League last season, had signed the 32-year-old midfielder to a one-year deal.

source: Getty Images
John Stones, Everton FC

As for players not moving anywhere anytime soon, Thursday was a pretty significant day for owning clubs to say, “No,” to potential suitors all over Europe.

Bayern Munich extended the contract of Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara by two years, thus putting to bed any possible speculation of the 24-year-old’s future with the three-time reigning Bundesliga champions. Meanwhile, Everton chairman Bill Kenwright confirmed that his club have rejected yet another offer from Chelsea for defender John Stones (this one reported to be nearly $60 million), and West Bromwich Albion chairman Jeremy Peace admonished Tottenham Hotspur for the last-hour nature of their pursuit of forward Saido Berahino, saying Berahino will not be leaving the club this summer.

Steve Bruce “hopeful” to bring Chicago Fire DP Maloney to Hull City

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Is Shaun Maloney set to become a 14-game Designated Player?

The 32-year-old Scottish veteran looks close to a move back to England after just 1,228 minutes on the MLS field as a DP in Chicago.

[ UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Tuesday wrap | Wednesday ]

Maloney came to the Fire from Wigan this winter after spending time at Celtic and Aston Villa.

He’s scored thrice, adding two assists for the Fire, but several reports say he’s Hull bound.

Maloney has struggled in recent weeks, though Chicago boss Frank Yallop dismissed speculation that transfer rumors and an earlier Hull offer had affected his play.

Yallop also had recently said the club expected to hold onto Maloney, but didn’t exactly rule out him leaving if Hull came back with a higher offer.

US Open Cup Snapshot: Philadelphia Union 1-0 Chicago Fire

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The game in 100 words (or less): With a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Fire on Wednesday night, the Philadelphia Union advanced to and will host their second consecutive US Open Cup final at PPL Park. Sebastien Le Toux scored the game’s only goal (his 15th all-time goal in USOC action, extending his own modern-era record) in the 74th minute as Jim Curtin’s side controlled the game’s proceedings for the entirety of 90 minutes. Sean Johnson made a pair of key saves during the first half, but an early injury to debutant striker Gilberto forced the Fire to burn a sub just 21 minutes into the game and Frank Yallop’s side never really found their footing afterward. In the midst of another underwhelming Major League Soccer campaign, the Union find themselves yet again just 90 (or 120) minutes away from the first major trophy in club history. They will host the winner of the second semifinal between Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake in the final on Sept. 30.

[ MORE: SKC 3-1 RSL in SF No. 2Week 23 MLS Team of the Week | Player of  the Week ]

Three moments that mattered

8′ — Johnson saves Maidana’s shot from the top of the box — Johnson made a sprawling save of Christian Maidana’s curling, far-post effort in the eight minute. After CJ Sapong received the ball 15 yards from goal, his first touch got away but found the left foot of Maidana, who Johnson did extremely well to deny.

24′ — Johnson stops Maidana’s again, Sapong pushes rebound wide — Johnson vs. Maidana was the theme of the first half, as the former thwarted the latter yet again in the 24th minute. Unleashing another left-footed shot from just outside the box, Maidana looked to have beaten Johnson to his left-hand post, but the young ‘keeper got down quickly and made the save. The rebound, however, remained in play and fell to the feet of Sapong, who could only hit the outside side netting from a tight angle.

74′ — Le Toux capitalizes on a poor defensive sequence — Shaun Maloney and Razvan Cocis combined for three failed or unattempted tackles at the top of their own penalty area, which provided Le Toux all the time and space in the world to wiggle free and hit a worm-burner just inside Johnson’s left-hand post, this time to a spot just out of reach.

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

Man of the match: Sebastien Le Toux

Goalscorers: Le Toux (74′)

MLS Snapshot: Chicago Fire 2-0 FC Dallas (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): The wind whipped through Chicago as the Fire earned the Brimstone Cup through an early goal by David Accam. Meanwhile, FC Dallas – one of the hottest teams in Major League Soccer with five straight victories – had little to offer the Fire back line as Chicago cruised to the home win. Even a man up as the game wound down, Dallas conceded a late penalty to put Chicago easily through.

Three moments that mattered

4′ – Chicago opened the scoring early. Jason Johnson found Accam with a brilliant through ball, and the Ghanan beat Matt Hedges at the top corner of the box before threading a low shot past Dan Kennedy from a tight angle for an early Fire lead.

79′ – Matt Watson, just on a minute earlier as a substitute, threw himself studs up into a 50/50 challenge with Rolando Escobar, leaving the referee no choice but to show him the straight red card.

85′ – A man down and on the counter-attack, Chicago earned itself a penalty to win some breathing room. Kellyn Acosta tripped Accam on the very edge of the box, and Shaun Maloney ripped the spot-kick home for a 2-0 lead.

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

LINEUPS

Chicago – Johnson; Jones, Palmer, Gehrig, Larentowicz; Polster, Accam (Nyarko 88′), Shipp, Cocis; Johnson (Igboananike 66′), Maloney.

Goals: Accam 4′, Maloney (pen) 85′
Discipline: Watson (straight red) 79′

Dallas – Kennedy; Hollingshead (Hernandez 82′), Loyd, Hedges, Watson; Ulloa (Escobar 58′), Diaz, Castillo, Barrios, Acosta; Texeira (Akindele 46′).

EURO 2016 qualifying roundup: Faroe Islands upset Greece (again), plus a Ronaldo hat trick

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The sixth round of 2016 European Championship qualification continued on Saturday, as groups take shape and next summer’s field begins to become just a bit clearer.

Faroe Islands 2-1 Greece

Remember when Greece won EURO 2004? It seems like ages ago, but in reality it was just 11 short years ago. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. On Saturday, Greece fell to the Faroe Islands — again — a tiny archipelago nation with a population of roughly 50,000.

Hallur Hansson scored the game’s opening goal in the 32nd minute and Brandur Olsen doubled the lead in the 70th minute, before Sokratis pulled back a mere consolation goal for the Greeks in the 85th minute.

Greece currently sit bottom of Group F with just two points from six games, a total that almost certainly means there’s little or no chance of qualifying for next summer’s EURO tournament. Faroe Islands have six point and sit in fourth, five points behind Hungary for third.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Copa America coverage | WWC | U-20 WC ]

Armenia 2-3 Portugal

A hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo led Portugal to a comeback over Armenia, but they sweated it out late. The hosts snatched a shock 14th minute lead when Marcos Pizzelli ripped home a free kick past Rui Patricio. Ronaldo leveled with his first 12 minutes later on a penalty as the game went into halftime 1-1. A mistake at the back led to his second, as neither goalkeeper Roman Berezovsky or defender Robert Arzumanyan dealt with a ball in the box, and the Real Madrid star picked their pocket for a second. But his third was the best, an absolute stunner from 25 yards out that roared into the top corner.

Portugal midfielder Tiago found himself with an early shower for a deserved second yellow after the hour mark, and it let Armenia back in. They pulled one back when Hrayr Mkoyan put home a shot from distance that Patricio fumbled. Armenia pummeled forward the rest of the way, but couldn’t find the last one. Portugal exhaled and earned the three points, keeping their two-point lead in the five-team Group I.

Republic of Ireland 1-1 Scotland

A huge Group D matchup with two teams trying to keep pace with Poland and Germany at the top, the hosts took the lead just before halftime through Stoke City midfielder Jonathan Walters, but Scotland pulled level just a minute after halftime as Chicago Fire designated player Shaun Maloney deflected an effort from the top of the box off John O’Shea and into the back of the net.

The second half proved entertaining, but neither side was able to break the deadlock, and each side earned a point. The draw favors Scotland, who remain in a potential qualifying position three points back of Poland and two behind Germany. Meanwhile, Ireland fails to make a move into the top half of the group, sitting in fourth just two points back of Ireland.

[ MORE: Worry starts to build for France as EURO 2016 hosts lose again ]

Gibraltar 0-7 Germany

Andre Schurrle netted a hat trick, while Max Kruse scored twice, and Ilkay Gundogan and Karim Bellarabi added one a piece for the defending world champions, who take over second place in Group D, a single point off the pace of leaders Poland.

Poland 4-0 Georgia

The Polish squad maintained its lead over Group D by breezing by Georgia. It took an hour to get going but Arkadiusz Milik finished off a fantastic big of passing in the 61st minute with a curling shot from distance. Then, as Poland pushed to put the game away, and they did more than that. Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski burst open the game as time ran down with a hat-trick in under four minutes to roar across the finish line. The win keeps Poland at the top of Group D with 14 points.

Elsewhere in EURO 2016 qualifying

Finland 0-1 Hungary
Denmark 2-0 Serbia
Northern Ireland 0-0 Romania