All posts by Jonathan Abraham

Liverpool to battle Flamengo in the Club World Cup final

The European Champions escaped a close semi-final match in the Club World Cup against Liga MX side Monterrey in Qatar, ultimately needing a stoppage-time winner from substitute Roberto Firmino for the 2-1 victory.

 Liverpool had several key players either unable to play or started on the bench for the match, especially in the center of the defense. The situation was so complicated that midfielder Jordan Henderson had to fill in the void due to Virgil van Dijk (illness), Dejan Lovren (injured), and Joel Matip (injured) not able to suit up for the squad.

The current Premier League leaders got off to a quick start after Naby Keita scored in the 12th-minute, courtesy of an outstanding reverse pass from Mohamed Salah. It was a short lead, however, as Rogelio Funes Mori scored two minutes later for the recent winners of the CONCACAF Champions League.

The Reds were able to squeeze out a narrow victory after Firmino, who only entered the match in the 85th-minute, scored the late goal, causing the side to head into the finals of the competition.

In the finals, Liverpool will face off against Brazilian Série A side Flamengo. They will face off against a familiar opponent in Filipe Luis, who played for the likes of Atlético Madrid and Chelsea before making the move to his home country this season.

The two sides will play on Saturday, the first time they both play against each other in a tournament match since the 1981 Intercontinental Cup, where Flamengo defeated Liverpool 3-0 in Tokyo.

Christian Pulisic named U.S. Soccer’s 2019 Male Athlete of the Year

Recent in-form winger Christian Pulisic was voted as the Male Athlete of the Year for U.S. Soccer, accumulating 38 percent of the votes.

He had a narrow margin over Seattle Sounders midfielder Jordan Morris, who garnered 35 percent of the votes. FC Schalke’s midfielder Weston McKennie finished third at 13 percent.

 The votes were casted by several members across American soccer, including national team players who had caps in 2019, national team coaches, members of the U.S. Soccer board of directors, the U.S. Soccer Athletes’ Council, head coaches from Major League and United Soccer League, former players and administrators, and select members from the media.

This award is Pulisic’s second, having already been the youngest to accept the prestige honor back in 2017. Now, he is the youngest two-time winner, beating former Everton player Landon Donovan, who won his second at a mere 22 years old. The Hershey, Pennsylvania native is also the seventh player to have won multiple times.

Representing the U.S., Pulisic scored five goals and added three assists, helping the nation get to CONCACAF’s Gold Cup Final while also being named in the tournament’s Best XI.

In the first half of 2019, Pulisic scored three goals and had two assists in 13 appearances in his loan spell at Borussia Dortmund. 

Once Pulisic moved to Chelsea in August, after a tough start to his inaugural Premier League campaign, he has since scored six goals and added five assists in 20 league and cup appearances.

At just 21-year-old, Pulisic is accomplishing feats that seem unimaginable for someone his age. However, Captain America is here to put America on the map in the world’s biggest and most beautiful game.

Zlatan Ibrahimović set to return to A.C. Milan

After starring for the MLS’ LA Galaxy for the past two seasons, Zlatan Ibrahimović has reportedly agreed to a principle deal, returning to A.C. Milan for at least until the end of this season.

Ibrahimović, who scored 42 goals in 61 appearances for the Serie A side from 2010 to 2012, will be brought in for some much-needed assistance as Stefano Pioli’s Milan are currently in 11th place in the league with a record of 5-2-7. The Lion has several years of Serie A experience under his belt, playing for the likes of Juventus (2004 to 2006), Inter Milan (2006 to 2009), as well as Milan. 

However, critics wonder if Ibrahimović, 38, will be able to play at a high level in one of the top leagues in the world. Even though the Swedish international played a pivotal role for the Galaxy as he accumulated 52 goals in 56 appearances for the club, the North American league is considered a place where Europe’s biggest stars come to retire. 

This move back to the San Siro will be a huge step in Ibrahimović’s career to see if he still has the ability to play a top-level league. Do you think he will shine again in Italy?

LA Galaxy look towards PSG’s Edinson Cavani to replace Zlatan Ibrahimović

According to several reports, the LA Galaxy are hoping to replace Zlatan Ibrahimović with former PSG teammate Edinson Cavani.

Ibrahimović, who had been in the league since making his much-anticipated debut for the Galaxy on March 31, 2018, decided it was time to leave the club after scoring an impressive 52 goals in only 56 appearances.

Cavani, who has been sensational for the French giants since arriving from Napoli in 2013, has fallen down the pecking order after the club signed Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi on loan for this season. This has caused the Uruguayan striker to find a move that could get him playing time, which the MLS would be able to offer.

Throughout the summer, Cavani had been linked to David Beckham’s Inter Miami for their inaugural season, but Ibrahimović’s departure could lead the storied franchise to sign the prolific striker.

The Uruguayan has been a pivotal part of PSG since his arrival, scoring 136 goals in 192 appearances with the club. Cavani has also been sensational for his national team, alongside FC Barcelona’s striker Luis Suárez, bagging 48 goals in 114 appearances. 

If the Galaxy are able to land Cavani, it would be a major coup for the league. The striker has dominated Europe, winning a Coppa Italia with Napoli in 2012, winning five Ligue 1 titles, and many more. The Uruguayan was also a part of the squad that won the 2011 Copa América in Argentinian soil.

Although Cavani’s personality may not as out-of-the box as Ibrahimović’s, whose flair off the pitch seemed to take over the city of Los Angeles and the league, he is a player that could make an immediate impact if signed.

The 32-year-old looks as if he could still play at a high level, so some may wonder why he would move to the MLS, a league considered to be a place where Europe’s biggest stars come to “retire.” However, if the Galaxy are able to land Cavani, it could be a huge step to increase star influence in the league, having already had players such as Beckham, Ibrahimović, Thierry Henry, Didier Drogba, and many more take their talents to the U.S. and Canada. 

As the Galaxy become desperate to search for their next No. 9, it should be interesting to see if Cavani will be able to fill the giant void left by Ibrahimović in a city where the lights and pressure shine the brightest.

Arsenal legend Thierry Henry named head coach of MLS side Montreal Impact

Thierry Henry, one of the biggest players in the most popular sport worldwide, was appointed to be the head coach of the Montreal Impact on a two-year contract.

 For Henry, who has played for the likes of some of Europe’s top clubs such as Monaco, Juventus, Arsenal, and FC Barcelona, this will be his second stint in the league after he played for the New York Red Bulls from 2010-2014, scoring 51 goals in 122 appearances for the club.

The Frenchman began his coaching career in February 2015, coaching Arsenal’s youth teams along with working for Sky Sports. Henry later became an assistant coach, specifically focused on the forwards, for the Belgium national team under manager Roberto Martinez. His efforts led him to be offered the managerial position for Bordeaux, but disagreements with the club’s owners led him to not accept the job. 

After being promoted to lead assistant coach, Henry accepted his first job as a manager for his former club Monaco in October after the firing of Leonardo Jardim. After starting off his tenure with a 2-1 loss at Strasbourg, Henry was unable to get a win for over a month before defeating Caen 1-0 in November. The club’s struggles led him to sign several key players during the winter transfer window, including former Arsenal teammate Cesc Fábregas from Chelsea and Brazilian center back Naldo from Schalke. Ultimately, these signings did not help the club improve its form, and Henry was dismissed from his former club after the team was in 19th at the time, finishing his tenure with a record of 4-5-11.

 Although Henry’s tenure at Monaco was rough, he does not have to face the pressure of relegation in the MLS with the Impact. The club’s partnership with Italian-side Bologna will also offer a great deal of help as he would be able to loan some players from a top-flight league into the squad, offering some much-needed assistance for a squad that missed the playoffs after finishing 9th in the Eastern Conference. 

With the fate of Montreal’s success in the league in the hands of Henry, time will tell if the Frenchman – who had only previously managed one side prior and was unsuccessful – will be able to improve the squad’s performance compared to last season.

How do you think Henry will get on at Montreal Impact?