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MLS Week 33 best players

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The final week of the 2022 MLS regular season is upon us.

Week 33 sorted out a lot of issues, with LAFC lifting the Supporters Shield, a few more teams making the playoffs, and giants like the Seattle Sounders and Atlanta United being eliminated from contention.

As always, there were some huge individual performers who wrote the narratives, so let’s dive in and take a look at the top five:

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Talles Magno has been the man most turned to by NYCFC in terms of trying to replace Taty Castellanos’ threat through the middle. For the most part, the 20-year-old has struggled under expectations but on Sunday, he put in his best performance for quite some time.

It was the Brazilian forward who wriggled free inside the box and squared the ball to Alexander Callens to equalize in the 66th minute against Orlando City. Magno then clinically finished a team move inside the final 10 minutes to seal the win.

Magno was a threat throughout, attempting three shots and creating three chances, and NYCFC will need more of this in the playoffs if they’re to stand a chance of defending their MLS Cup title.

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The Columbus Crew were 1-0 down to the New York Red Bulls with their MLS Cup playoffs hopes fading fast when Derrick Etienne Jr entered the field in the 70th minute.

23 minutes later, the Haitian forward had scored twice to give Columbus a priceless 2-1 win that keeps them in the hunt for a spot in the top seven.

Etienne’s first was a display of pure composure inside the box, taking his time to find the right position to finish. And with RBNY still punch-drunk, Etienne reacted quickest to a rebound inside the box, delivering the most dramatic of victories.

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About as perfect a substitute performance as Crew head coach Caleb Porter could ask for.

The Vancouver Whitecaps are still just barely alive in the playoffs race and they have Ryan Gauld to thank for it.

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As he so often has been throughout this season, Gauld was the catalyst to Vancouver’s 2-0 win over high-flying Austin FC on Saturday.

First, the Scottish attacker raced behind the Verde defense and fired beyond goalkeeper Brad Stuver to give VWFC the lead inside the opening seven minutes. Then, after riding some Austin pressure, Gauld again ran into space before delivering a perfect cross to striker Lucas Cavallini, who converted to seal the victory – one of four chances Gauld created on the night.

European interest seems to be mounting for Jhon Duran and after performances like the one he put in on Saturday, is it any wonder?

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The Colombian teenager was on target twice 19 minutes to help the Chicago Fire take a 3-0 lead against FC Cincinnati – scoring his goals either side of a strike from fellow youngster Brian Gutierrez, who assisted both Duran’s goals.

Both goals were fine examples of pure center-forward play, using his pace to fly behind the Cincy defense before showing incredible composure to beat goalkeeper Roman Celentano.

That’s five goals in Duran’s last four MLS appearances, taking his season tally to eight in just 13 starts.

There were some fine performances this weekend but absolutely nobody was getting close to Daniel Rios.

Scoring the first hat-trick in Charlotte FC history was clearly not enough for Rios, who then decided to become the first-ever player to score four goals in a single game for an MLS expansion team. And he did so against Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia Union, no less.

Bagging every goal in a 4-0 win that keeps your team in the post-season hunt doesn’t require any further explanation from us. Just watch the highlights…

Honorable mentions: Brian Gutierrez, Kamil Jozwiak, Claudio Bravo, Carles Gil, Diego Rubio, Sebastian Ferreira, Stefan Frei.

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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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Katie Zelem discusses the ‘catch 22’ Man Utd face ahead of Old Trafford return

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Manchester United captain Katie Zelem has described the two-week break since a momentous WSL win over Arsenal as ‘catch 22’ for the squad because that time out of action before facing Aston Villa at Old Trafford on Saturday has both positive and negative implications.

Having lost to Chelsea in early November, their first league defeat of the season, United responded by mounting a 3-2 comeback win at the Emirates Stadium when club football resumed after the recent international break.

Another two-week pause in the club schedule, during which time United have played a behind closed doors friendly, has offered both the chance for rest for starters and minutes for those less involved so far this season. But there is a risk that positive momentum fades.

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“It’s catch 22 in football. Everyone is dying for a break, but equally when you’ve got a good run of momentum, you want to keep it going,” Zelem said of the paradoxical situation.

“We’ve got to look at it as a positive. People were able to get minutes in a friendly match we played. We obviously had a hard week of training and it means we’ve been able to prep properly for the Villa game. Often, when there are really busy three game weeks, it reduces your prep time.

“As a team, we’re in a really good place going into the weekend and we all can’t wait.”

United manager Marc Skinner welcomed the opportunity for rest, insisting that it is the team that is responsible for nurturing momentum.

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“It was probably a good moment to recharge, get everybody fresh and just make sure we’re competitive within the team because that’s the real driving factor for us,” Skinner explained.

“I’ve said this before, whether it’s a loss going into a break, or a win going into a break, it’s about us taking charge of momentum.”

As far as the game itself, United have won on both previous occasions they have played at Old Trafford – against West Ham in 2021 and Everton earlier in 2022 – and find familiarity that the pitch dimensions are actually the same as at usual home stadium Leigh Sports Village.

Even if the setting will obviously be different because of the much larger stands that surround the grass, it feeds into their preferred style of play and makes the transition smoother.

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“We pride ourselves on keeping the ball and building our attacks. For us, at Old Trafford that will be vitally important,” Zelem went on to say.

“We know that Villa will try and catch us on the break and they’ve got a lot of attacking threats. We need to look at it like we’re playing at Leigh…it’s obviously a lot harder when there are so many more people and huge stands around you. It’s just another game for us and that’s how we’re taking it.”

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter!





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Club Leon appoint Nicolas Larcamon as new head coach

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Club Leon has appointed Nicolas Larcamon as the new head coach, ahead of the 2023 Liga MX Clausura. 

He replaces Renato Paiva, who announced his departure just days ago.

Larcamon now joins after serving as head of Puebla for two years, where he managed a record of 27W-21L-32D in 80 Liga MX games total. During the 2022 Liga MX Apertura, Larcamon inspired Puebla to eighth on the table and the Liguilla quarter-finals before falling to Club America. 

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He announced his resignation from Puebla shortly after being eliminated from the Liguilla, claiming the team needed ‘renewed energy’.

“The truth is that the decision is mine, obviously that the perspectives of what is coming for the team at all levels are taken into account a little, which is going to be very challenging,” he said to TUDN.

”That is why I understood it very fair to give the place to someone with renewed energy, with maximum motivation, the institution deserves it. There were four tournaments of great intensity, demands, where we were always at our best, and the decision had more to do with these issues. There was a lot of speculation, it coincided with Piojo in Tigres, but it has nothing to do with it. it was a decision made days before and we were only in negotiations.”

He will now take on new challenges with Club Leon. 

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The team concluded the 2022 Apertura in 10th place, qualifying to the Liguilla playoff match before losing 1-0 to Cruz Azul. 

Leon kicks off the 2023 Clausura on January 6, against Mazatlan.

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Ben White leaves England World Cup squad due to ‘personal reasons’

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Arsenal star Ben White has left England’s World Cup training camp and isn’t expected to return for the remainder of the tournament.

The defender didn’t make an appearance in any of the Three Lions group stage games, and has now left the squad due to ‘personal reasons’.

In a statement released by England, the Three Lions confirmed the news: “Ben White has left England’s training base in Al Wakrah and returned home for personal reasons.

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Harry Symeou hosts Jack Gallagher and Toby Cudworth to look back on Germany ’06 as part of the ‘Our World Cup’ series. We take a trip down memory lane – join us!

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“The Arsenal defender is not expected to return to the squad for the remainder of the tournament. We ask that the player’s privacy is respected at this moment in time.”

White has enjoyed a fantastic domestic season with Arsenal, becoming the club’s first choice right-back – and one of the best right-backs in the Premier League – as the Gunners have gone from top four challengers to table-toppers.

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