AngelDiMariaManUnited1-Everton2014 (Getty)

Thursday Kickoff: Transfer fee agreed for Di Maria; Tigres, River draw in leg 1; and more

Paris Saint-Germain reportedly secured a pair of wins on Wednesday, winning the ICC over Man United and completing a transfer deal for Angel Di Maria.

JaimePenedoGalaxy1-OrlandoCity (USATodaySports)

Galaxy waive Penedo, could bring back Ricketts as replacement

Jaime Penedo and the LA Galaxy have reportedly agreed to mutually terminate his contract, and there are reports that Donovan Ricketts could be Penedo’s replacement.

Jul 29, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; MLS All Stars midfielder Kaka (22) of Orlando City SC celebrates with defender Omar Gonzalez (4) of the LA Galaxy
during the first half of the 2015 MLS All Star Game against the Tottenham Hotspur at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Kaka, Rimando’s strong first-half showings help MLS All-Stars edge Tottenham

Kaka and David Villa scored first-half goals, and Nick Rimando came up with big saves to give the MLS All-Stars a 2-1 win over Tottenham on Wednesday.

Thursday Kickoff: Transfer fee agreed for Di Maria; Tigres, River draw in leg 1; and more

AngelDiMariaManUnited1-Everton2014 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Angel Di Maria’s on-again, off-again transfer to Paris Saint-Germain looks like it’s finally ready to become a reality.

According to a report out of Spain, PSG has reached a €63 million ($69 million) transfer fee agreement with Manchester United for the Argentine international, who is still on vacation after taking part in the 2015 Copa America.

Di Maria only joined Man United 11 months ago from Real Madrid, signing for approximately €74.8 million (nearly $100 million). But due to injuries and positional flexibility, Di Maria never truly found his place in Man United’s starting XI, scoring just three goals in the English Premier League in 20 starts.

If the reports are true, it would be the second big win this week for PSG. The French champions coincidentally defeated Man United, 2-0, at Soldier Field in Chicago on Wednesday to clinch the 2015 International Champions Cup title.

After the match, PSG manager Laurent Blanc hinted that the transfer is imminent.

Here are some more stories to start off your Thursday:

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Galaxy waive Penedo, could bring back Ricketts as replacement

JaimePenedoGalaxy1-OrlandoCity (USATodaySports)

Photo by Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports

By DAN KARELL

As it turns out, Jaime Penedo won’t be returning between the pipes for the LA Galaxy following the conclusion of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

According to LA Galaxy Insider, Penedo and the Galaxy have agreed to mutually terminate the veteran Panamanian international’s contract and place him on waivers. Penedo lasted a little less than two years with the LA Galaxy, joining after a stellar run to the 2013 Gold Cup final.

Penedo’s command in goal was crucial in the Galaxy’s 2014 MLS Cup title-winning season, earning him the nickname “San Penedo.”

In a post on his Instagram page, Penedo, 33, cited contractual issues as his reason for departing the Galaxy, but thanked the Galaxy fans who supported him over the past two seasons. LA Galaxy Insider’s report states that Penedo asked to leave the club and that its unlikely he would stay in MLS.

To replace Penedo, both LA Galaxy Insider and the Orlando Sentinel are reporting that a familiar face could return to the StubHub Center.

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Posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- LA Galaxy, MLS- Orlando City | 7 Comments

Kaka, Rimando’s strong first-half showings help MLS All-Stars edge Tottenham

photo by Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The MLS All-Star Game is an opportunity to showcase the league’s best talent, and two of the newest superstars to make the jump from Europe combined for a pair of first-half goals in another victory.

Kaka and David Villa scored three minutes apart in the first half, and that, combined with a strong performance from goalkeeper Nick Rimando, was enough to give the league’s top players a 2-1 win over Tottenham in the annual MLS All-Star Game.

Kaka opened the scoring at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in the 20th minute with a perfect penalty kick. The MLS All-Stars captain then turned into a provider, feeding Villa for a one-timed effort in front of goal.

Harry Kane cut the deficit in half with a 35th-minute bomb from outside the penalty area, but Rimando superbly denied him three times before to keep the MLS All-Stars in a position to come out victory for the second straight year.

U.S. Men’s National Team youngster and former MLS player DeAndre Yedlin also saw time in the game played in front of a sold-out crowd of 18,671. Yedlin came off the bench in the 63rd minute for Spurs, who had chances in the second half to pull level.

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Posted in European Soccer, Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS All-Star Game | 23 Comments

Landon Donovan open to continue coaching in future

photo by Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Landon Donovan had his first coaching experience on Tuesday, and he thoroughly enjoyed it. So much so that he is considering doing it again.

Donovan led the MLS Homegrowns in their match vs. Club America’s U-20s on Tuesday night as part of MLS All-Star Week. His team lost on penalty kicks after surrendering its first-half lead, but not even the defeat could take away from how much fun Donovan had.

In fact, he had such a great time on the sidelines that you should not rule out seeing him there again in the near future.

“This was a week to sort of dip my toe in and see how it felt. I really had a great time,” said the 33-year-old Donovan. “I don’t know what the future holds. It depends, obviously, on a lot of things, but I really enjoyed it. If I get another opportunity, then maybe I’ll consider it, yeah.”

Donovan, wearing a polo shirt and some athletic pants after suggestions from his wife, admitted to have a little anxiety on the bench. A former player who was very determined to focus on the things he could control during his historic career, Donovan found it tough not being able to go out on the field to make an impact. He sat on the bench for much of the first half, but got up and became more animated as the match wore one.

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Posted in Featured, MLS All-Star Game | 50 Comments

All-Star Game inclusion latest step in Ethan Finlay’s remarkable turnaround

Ethan Finlay 1 (USA TODAY Sports)

photo by Mike DiNovo/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Ethan Finlay struggled to fall asleep on Sunday. That night, Columbus Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter called Finlay to let him know he had made the MLS All-Star Game roster.

Finlay was left speechless and also extremely excited. It was a surreal a moment for him, but one that also served as a reminder of how far he had come in the past year and a half thanks to hard work and a necessary change in mentality.

Since the start of 2014, few players in MLS, if any, have made the kind of drastic improvements that Finlay has. The 24-year-old midfielder has gone from being a limited player who came off the bench and provided little to the attack to an every-game starter who consistently finds ways to make an impact.

Finlay’s turnaround has been nothing short of remarkable. His first two seasons in MLS  saw him fail to score or assist in 34 appearances. The two seasons since have yielded a much more gratifying return, with Finlay netting 18 goals and assisting on 19 others.

The introduction of Berhalter as Crew head coach in 2014 played a part in that turnaround, but was not the only factor.

“I think a switch kind of turned in me,” Finlay told SBI. “When your back is up against the wall as I felt like I kind of was I made a decision that I’ve got to pick it up. This is on me. The onus is on me.  I took that literally and made a great opportunity for myself and I’m thankful for Gregg and the staff for giving me the opportunity and I’ve tried to run with it.”

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Posted in Featured, MLS All-Star Game, MLS- Columbus Crew | 15 Comments

DeAndre Yedlin unsure whether he will stay with Tottenham this season

photo by Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — DeAndre Yedlin will play for Tottenham in Wednesday’s MLS All-Star Game. Whether or not he does so in the upcoming Premiership season has yet to be determined.

Yedlin is entering his first full season with Spurs after making the move from the Seattle Sounders last winter. Questions and speculation persist about whether he will go on loan, or stay with Tottenham and battle for playing time at right back, where the team has strong options.

The speedy fullback was limited to just a single appearance of 11 minutes during his first five months with Tottenham, and his role for the upcoming season is unclear with Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier on the roster.

There have been rumors in recent weeks about Yedlin potentially going out on loan in order to have a better shot at earning minutes, but the 22-year-old U.S. Men’s National Team player is uncertain as to what the future will hold.

“I’m not sure about the plan ahead for next season,” said Yedlin ahead of Wednesday’s meeting with the MLS All-Stars. “I’m still waiting on that, but right now, just focused on this game and the rest of preseason.”

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Posted in Americans Abroad, Featured, MLS All-Star Game | 52 Comments

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 21

Michael Berrios 1 (USA TODAY Sports)

Photo by Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports

By RYAN TOLMICH

While several of the Western Conference’s biggest contenders faltered, FC Dallas made a major statement to remain atop the table.

Throttling the Portland Timbers, 4-1, FC Dallas has asserted itself as the West’s best team, while the LA Galaxy and Sporting Kansas City fell to disappointing setbacks in the forms of momentum-halting defeats.

In the East, D.C. United put together a masterful comeback to break the hearts of the Union, while the Columbus Crew, Toronto FC and New York City FC continue to score goals in bunches while trying to establish themselves as legit contenders.

Here are the SBI MLS Power Rankings for Week 21, as voted on by SBI’s editorial staff:

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Posted in Featured, SBI MLS Power Rankings, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Miguel Herrera out as Mexico head coach, offers apology after airport scuffle

Miguel-Herrera-Mexico-Getty-Images

 

By DAN KARELL

Miguel Herrera was fired on Tuesday as the Mexican National Team head coach, less than 24 hours after reports that he had punched a journalist in Philadelphia and two days after winning the 2015 Gold Cup.

Mexican FA president Decio De Maria confirmed the news in a press conference this afternoon, telling reporters that Herrera’s violent actions had no place in Mexican society.

“Violence does not fit in society, family and much less in any sport,” De Maria said at the press conference. “Nobody who wants to impose with aggression and not with ideas and concepts on the principle of freedom of expression can be a member of the Mexican Football Federation.

“The Mexican fans deserve respect and people of integrity that represent what we want our national team to be, a great show, family friendly, that unites us in our passion.”

On Sunday, El Tri won their seventh Gold Cup title with a 3-1 victory over Jamaica at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. On the way home to Mexico, Herrera allegedly physically assaulted journalist and broadcaster Christian Martinoli (best known to American soccer fans for this) at Philadelphia International Airport.

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Posted in Featured, Mexican Soccer | 105 Comments