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Atlanta United suspend Josef Martinez for next match vs Toronto FC

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Atlanta United have announced they’ve suspended striker Josef Martinez for this weekend’s game against Toronto FC.

The Five Stripes say the decision has been taken due to ‘conduct detrimental to the team’ from Martinez, who will not participate in team activities during his suspension period.

Martinez – who has scored eight goals in just 1,329 minutes of MLS action this season – is scheduled to return to training on Monday, September 12.

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According to The Athletic’s Felipe Cardenas, the suspension is the result of an altercation between Martinez and Atlanta United head coach Gonzalo Pineda that took place following a 2-1 loss to the Portland Timbers on Sunday.

Cardenes reports that Martinez walked into the locker room after the match – in which he came off the bench and scored his side’s only goal of the game – and, in frustration, kicked over a catering table. Pineda emerged from a separate room and confronted Martinez, with the pair needing to be physically separated.

Despite being the club’s top goalscorer not just this season, but of all-time, Martinez has had to settle for a place on the bench in each of Atlanta United’s last four matches, with Pineda preferring Mexican forward Ronaldo Cisneros. The Venezuela international still managed to score in two of those games.

If reports are true, Pineda wouldn’t be the first head coach Martinez has struggled to get along with, as both Gabriel Heinze and Frank de Boer suffered tense relationships with the striker in the past.

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The incident with Martinez is the latest setback in what has been a miserable season for Atlanta United, who are 11th in the Eastern Conference and in serious danger of missing out on the MLS Cup Playoffs for the second time in three seasons.

Watch the story of Charlotte FC’s journey to MLS in 90min’s The Making of Charlotte FC, presented by DoorDash, on 90min channels now. Subscribe to our new US YouTube channel.





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RUMOUR: Man Utd could launch shock Pickford swoop as they consider letting De Gea go

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RUMOUR: Man Utd could launch shock Pickford swoop as they consider letting De Gea go

Manchester United may consider a shock bid for Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the midst of uncertainty encompassing David De Gea’s future, reports propose.

As per the Telegraph, United are not persuaded they need to broaden De Gea’s agreement, which runs out in June and procures him an astounding £350,000, and could allow him to go free of charge in June.

The Spanish shot-stopper, who was omitted from Luis Enrique’s Spain squad for the international break, suffered a poor start to the season with a raft of errors most notably at Brentford.

And United are also dealing with a high wage bill that reached a Premier League record of £384million last season.

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The Red Devils announced earlier this week that their salaries have increased by a whopping £61.6m from the previous year.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s return as well as Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane’s arrivals led to a 19.1 per cent increase in their salary bill as well as a net loss amounting to £115.5m.

United are assessing their long-term plans and a change between the sticks can’t be ruled out, even though De Gea, 31, has improved recently and has been integral in the last 11 years at Old Trafford.

That could bring England’s No1 Pickford, 28, into the frame come January.

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The Everton shot stopper has various clubs carefully monitoring his situation as he will have just one year left on his Everton contract at the end of the season.

The England international is also a homegrown player, which is very appealing to his suitors.

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Rob Page says Wales ‘will be in contact’ with LAFC regarding Gareth Bale’s World Cup fitness

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Wales boss Rob Page has revealed he’ll remain in close contact with LAFC regarding Gareth Bale’s fitness as the World Cup approaches.

Bale played the full 90 minutes as Wales lost 1-0 against Poland on Sunday in a result that confirmed their relegation from their UEFA Nations League group.

However, that’s the first time the 33-year-old has managed a full game at any level since March of this year, while he hasn’t gone 90 at club level since a La Liga match against Getafe for Real Madrid in April 2020.

Wales’ next game is their World Cup Group B opener against the United States on November 21. Before then, it’s vital Bale plays as many minutes as possible in the MLS regular season and Playoffs for LAFC.

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“They want Gareth available for them and we want him in the physical position for the first [World Cup] game against the USA. We will be in contact with them and make sure he is in the right place,” Page said of Bale’s situation at LAFC, where only two of the forward’s 11 appearances have been from the start.

“What he does from now until the first game, we will be in contact with the club and help manage those minutes. They are a good outfit, LA, so they will know exactly how to get him from where he is now to full fitness, which is 90 minutes week in, week out.”

LAFC are level on 64 points with the Philadelphia Union at the top of the overall MLS standings. The Black and Gold have just two more regular season games remaining – away to the Portland Timbers and at home against Nashville SC – before they begin their Playoffs run.

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Watch the story of Charlotte FC’s journey to MLS in 90min’s The Making of Charlotte FC, presented by DoorDash, on 90min channels now. Subscribe to our new US YouTube channel.



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WSL team of the week: gameweek 2

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Attendance records were sent tumbling during gameweek two of the WSL, with the north London and Merseyside derby both attracting five-figure crowds at the Emirates and Anfield.

On the pitch, Arsenal and Everton both got the better of their local rivals, while there was a first win of the season for Chelsea.

But which players stood out in particular? Here’s 90min’s WSL team of the week for gameweek two.

Hannah Blundell

Blundell was on the score sheet for United / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

GK: Megan Walsh (Brighton) – Helped Brighton to their first three points of the season by keeping Reading at bay with a number of fine saves. Her reaction stop to tip away a Lauren Wade header in the second half was arguably the pick of the bunch.

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RB: Ona Batlle (Manchester United) – Carried on from where she left off last week with another terrific display. A constant threat going forward, grazed the bar in the first half and set up United’s second with a clever cut back from the byline.

CB: Katrina Veje (Everton) – An energetic, all action display. Set up Everton’s first with a teasing corner delivery, acted as a real creative outlet for her side despite operating as a left centre back in a back three, and helped preserve a clean sheet as Everton recorded a famous Merseyside derby victory.

CB: Rafaelle (Arsenal) – Effortlessly cool with the ball at her feet when under pressure deep in her own half, helping Arsenal bypass the Tottenham press. On the score sheet with a towering header, rising above two Tottenham defenders to power home.

LB: Hannah Blundell (Manchester United) – On the score sheet with her first goal for Manchester United – and first WSL goal since the 2018/19 season, calmly slotting home from the edge of the area.

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Vivianne Miedema

Miedema was on target for Arsenal / Clive Rose/GettyImages

CM: Nathalie Bjorn (Everton) – Grabbed the assist for Everton’s second, winning a loose ball back herself in the middle of the park before sending Park scampering away with a terrific pass over the top. Worked hard and broke up play impressively throughout.

CM: Kim Little (Arsenal) – Another massive performance from the Arsenal captain. As ever efficient in possession and so good in tight spaces, but did so much important defensive work for the Gunners, breaking up play and wrestling back possession on numerous occasions.

CAM: Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal) – Opened her account for the season with a north London derby brace – the first a typically cool finish, the second a deft header. Combined well with the Arsenal front three and continues to make the number 10 role her own.

Jess Park

Park opened her Everton account at Anfield / Charlotte Tattersall/GettyImages

FW: Jess Park (Everton) – An electric first WSL start for Everton from Park. Demonstrated her pace and skill to burst beyond the Liverpool backline and cooly round Rachel Laws for her side’s second, before intelligently picking out Hanna Bennison for Everton’s third. The makings of a perfect loan move for both parties.

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FW: Caitlin Foord (Arsenal) – Voted player of the match on a historic day at the Emirates. Ran the channels, linked play and didn’t give the Spurs backline a moment’s respite. Set up Arsenal’s second by winning the ball off Evelina Summanen deep in the Spurs half and playing in Miedema.

FW: Lauren James (Chelsea) – Oozed class from start to finish. Frequent flashes of genius with her flicks and quick feet, and caused the Manchester City backline all sorts of problems with her directness and driving runs.



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