Vito Mannone

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Top MLS Newcomers ahead of the 2019 season

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A handful of Major League Soccer sides are active in the CONCACAF Champions League, but all of the boys are back it this weekend with the start of the 2019 MLS league campaign.

[ RECAP: Liverpool 5-0 Watford ]

With a new season comes a lot of new faces. Here are five players to watch closely over the first few weeks of the season (Well, four… and one to most likely watch come April).

Alejandro Pozuelo, Toronto FC* — The asterisks is our assumption that the Pozuelo move happens, with TFC reportedly splashing big cash in both salary and transfer fee to bring the 27-year-old from Genk at the end of the Jupiler Pro League’s regular season. Pozuelo has 7 goals and 18 assists between league play and the Europa League which is… pretty darn good.

Pity Martinez, Atlanta United — A 25-year-old attacker recently capped by Argentina, Pity starred in both matches of the Club World Cup for River Plate and has the potential to be the next big thing… and maybe not just in MLS.

Emmanuel Ledesma, FC Cincinnati — The former Middlesbrough man is deadly on set pieces and absolutely torched USL defenses last season. There’s little reason to think his production will drop off dramatically despite the jump in competitive levels.

Vito Mannone, Minnesota United — It’s difficult to put a goalkeeper on this list, but the Loons bringing Mannone into the side while also having veteran Bobby Shuttleworth and SuperDraft pick Dayne St. Clair on the books is a statement in itself. Mannone was not the reason Sunderland was relegated a few years, and was the picture of class in trying to help the Black Cats stay up.

Carles Gil, New England Revolution — At 26 and coming to our shores from Deportivo de la Coruna after a brief but interesting spell at Aston Villa, he’s one of the litmus tests on display this season in MLS.

Honorable mention: Alexandru Mitrita, New York City FC; Terrence Boyd, Toronto FC; Marco Fabian, Philadelphia Union; Orji Okwonkwo, Montreal Impact; Hwang in-Boem, Vancouver Whitecaps.

Report: Minnesota United turning to ex-Sunderland GK Mannone

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The goalkeeping competition at Minnesota United was set to be very interesting, with longtime MLS backstop Bobby Shuttleworth and promising rookie Dayne St. Clair joined by a third keep.

The potential identify of that third one makes the competition a little less open.

[ MORE: Man City favored by oddsmakers ]

The Loons will reportedly add former Arsenal and Sunderland backstop Vito Mannone on loan from Reading, says The Athletic’s Jeff Rueter.

Mannone, 30, is behind Emiliano Martinez — on loan from Arsenal — and journeyman Sam Walker has been No. 2 in recent weeks.

The keeper was a bright light for Sunderland in its relegation season two years ago, backing the club from top-to-bottom and staying very active in the community.

David de Gea ties PL record for single-match saves vs. Arsenal

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He made how many saves?

[ MORE: A look back at Saturday’s action from around the Premier League ]

David De Gea has been widely considered one of the top goalkeepers in the world for several seasons now, and the Spanish international proved once again exactly why he’s such a hot commodity.

Despite Manchester United coming away with a 3-1 win over Arsenal on Saturday at the Emirates Stadium, the Red Devils were forced to defend for their lives throughout the encounter.

That’s where De Gea figured into the picture.

The 27-year-old made 14 saves on the day against the Gunners, equalling Tim Krul and Vito Mannone‘s joint record in the Premier League era.

Krul’s mark came while he was the starting keeper with Newcastle in 2013 against Tottenham, while Mannone did so the following the year against Chelsea.

This season, De Gea hadn’t made more than seven saves in a match, which came against Chelsea on Nov. 5.

According to Opta’s information, De Gea, Krul and Mannone hold the most saves in a top-flight match dating back to the 2003/04 season. No goalkeeping data exists prior to that season.

Sunderland’s Defoe, Mannone pay visit to Bradley Lowery

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Terminally-ill Bradley Lowery has inspired many in the soccer world with his fervent love for Sunderland.

Bradley’s relationship with several Black Cats has warmed many very cold hearts, and Vito Mannone, and Jermain Defoe took some time Thursday to catch up with their ailing little buddy.

[ MORE: Top Premier League storylines ]

And Bradley — who suffers from neuroblastoma — fell asleep, wearing his soccer ball drawers, in the arms of Sunderland’s star striker.

Mannone made a lot of fans last year when he admitted that his relegation fears were more for people who worked for Sunderland than the players. And clearly his heart continues to be in the right place.

Apologies to other relegation candidates, but here’s hoping Sunderland makes Bradley’s year with a run out of the zone.

Fight on, Bradley. Learn more about Bradley’s Fight here.

Mannone wants survival to save non-players’ jobs at Sunderland

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Relegation means big gobs of money off the budget and/or down the drain, and that does not escape Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone.

The Italian backstop, 28, obviously wants his side to avoid the drop out of the Premier League for competitive reasons, but understands that the team goes far beyond the players and coaches.

[ MORE: Premier League Power Rankings, Vol. XI ]

And Mannone is speaking openly about his co-workers off the pitch.

From The Sun:

“I care about each individual that might lose their job. That makes it even more important to survive.

“I love this club and, for my career and for everyone involved in the club, it is vital we come out of this.

“I mean that for everyone. From the office, from the training ground, from the stadium — everyone.”

We get tied up in rivalries and occasionally avoid the human side of this massive business we call soccer, so it’s nice when someone like Mannone helps us remember the other angles. Dislike Big Sam all you like, but there are club workers hoping their paychecks continue for another year.