The Seattle Sounders moved into the Western Conference playoff spots in the MLS, defeating the Vancouver Whitecaps 4-0 on Tuesday.

The Sounders took the three points via a double from Raul Ruidiaz along with goals from Nicolas Lodeiro and Alex Roldan, in this MLS season's first match of the Cascadia Cup.

In the rivalry that dates back to the NASL in the 1970s, the Sounders claimed their 18th win over the Caps in the MLS era with Tuesday's victory.

Ruidiaz was instrumental for Seattle in scoring the opener, breaking clear and playing Fredy Montero in, before he was brought down by Cody Cropper. Lodeiro converted from the penalty spot.

He pounced again in the 28th minute, reacting quickest to Jimmy Medranda's heavy first touch to finish, before scoring a second in the 54th minute. Alex Roldan added a fourth in the 89th minute.

After winning two of their opening seven league games, Brian Schmetzer's side have won four of their past six since claiming the CONCACAF Champions League title in May.

Seattle are now seventh in the Western Conference on 19 points, moving ahead of the three-way tie on 18 points between Houston Dynamo, Minnesota United and Colorado Rapids, with a game in hand as well.

Giorgio Chiellini has confirmed he will join MLS side Los Angeles FC on a free transfer.

The Juventus great revealed his intentions to leave Turin at the end of the season, ending a 17-year spell with the Bianconeri in which he made 425 Serie A appearances.

Chiellini also retired from international football with Italy two weeks ago following the 3-0 'Finalissima' defeat to Argentina in a meeting between the Euro 2020 winners and Copa America champions.

The 37-year-old has expressed his desire to use his vast experience to go into management or a director role, once his playing career is finished.

Los Angeles will likely be his final club that he plays for, after Chiellini took to Twitter on Monday to confirm his move to the Black and Gold on a reported 18-month contract.

"I am ready for a new role on the pitch," he said. "But mentally, I'd also be ready to become a director.

"I'd like to know everything going on around the pitch, inside the offices, but it takes time, patience and desire to sacrifice.

"We'll talk again in a few years and hopefully, I'll have understood the particularities and difficulties of the role.

"My adventure in the USA will prepare me for what will happen next."

Chiellini will hope to bolster the defence of a Los Angeles side that sit four points clear at the Western Conference summit after 14 games.

The experienced defender represents another big-name signing to go to MLS, joining the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to play in America.

Charlotte FC gained an important three points in the MLS on Saturday, earning a 2-0 win at home to New York RB.

Ben Bender and Derrick Jones scored in respective periods of injury time to move Charlotte within the Eastern Conference's playoff spots.

The home side needed a slice of fortune to take the lead in the fourth minute of first-half injury time, despite dominating possession in the opening half.

Doing well to bring Christian Ortiz's overhit pass under control, Bender's shot from the edge of the penalty deflected off Thomas Edwards and in, wrong-footing Carlos Coronel in the NYRB goal.

Derrick Jones doubled the margin in the closing stages with a relatively simple tap-in, moving Charlotte to sixth in the Eastern Conference, four points from NYRB in fourth.

Nashville remained in sixth in the Western Conference meanwhile, playing out a 0-0 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes.

Good chances fell to Hany Mukhtar and CJ Sapong but the home side were denied by James Marcinkowski, who had a stellar performance in the Earthquakes' goal.

The draw puts Nashville on 23 points, six points from Western Conference-leading Los Angeles FC.

 

New York City have extended their winning streak to four games and moved into top spot in the Eastern Conference after a 1-0 road win over Minnesota United on Saturday.

City defender Alexander Callens netted the game's only goal in the 29th minute, while goalkeeper Sean Johnson was outstanding for the visitors.

Callens powered in the winner with a bouncing header from Santiago Rodriguez's corner.

Minnesota almost equalised in the 90th minute but were thwarted by a spectacular double save by Johnson from Emanuel Reynoso and Robin Lod efforts.

City moved ahead of Philadelphia Union in the east, after they could only manage a 1-1 draw away to under-achieving New England Revolution.

The Revs, who won last season's Supporters' Shield, have rallied after a poor start to their campaign, going unbeaten in their past five, but have only collected 16 points from 13 games.

Gustavo Bou had put New England ahead from the penalty spot in the 75th minute, but Union levelled two minutes later after Omar Gonzalez's inexplicable error allowed Mikael Uhre to score.

Montreal, who are third in the east, got back on the winners' list with a hard-fought 4-3 victory over Cincinnati with a double from Rommel Quioto.

Luquinhas netted a brace as New York Red Bulls stayed in touch with the Eastern Conference's top three with a 4-1 home victory over struggling DC United.

In the Western Conference, LAFC remains four points clear at the top after Brian Rodriguez's 47th-minute winner clinched a 3-2 triumph over San Jose Earthquakes.

LAFC had raced to a 2-0 lead inside 13 minutes but San Jose equalised after two goals from in-form Jeremy Ebobisse, who has scored an equal-league high nine times this term.

Rodriguez, who got the assist for Ryan Hollingshead's 13th minute goal, scored when a loose ball arrived at his feet unmarked at the back post, firing past Earthquakes goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski.

Nashville ended the Colorado Rapids' remarkable 23-game unbeaten run at home with a 3-1 victory.

Charles Sapong netted in the eighth minute, before Hany Mukhtar's quickfire double had Nashville 3-0 up inside 18 minutes. The win moves Nashville up to fifth in the west.

Dallas came from behind to win 3-1 at Orlando City, Real Salt Lake won their third straight with a 3-0 victory over Houston Dynamo and Vancouver Whitecaps moved off bottom spot with a 1-0 triumph at Sporting KC.

Inter Miami extended their unbeaten run to four games with a 2-1 home win over Portland Timbers, Columbus Crew triumphed 2-1 over 10-man Atlanta United and Toronto won 3-2 over Chicago Fire after two late Pozuelo goals.

New York City FC moved to second spot in the Eastern Conference on Sunday, claiming a 1-0 victory at home to Chicago Fire.

Following a handball from Miguel Navarro, Heber scored the lone goal for City from the penalty spot to move the reigning MLS champions to 23 points.

It was only the 30-year-old's second goal this season, and despite City's dominance in possession with 61.8 per cent of the ball, they could not translate it to anything substantial in open play.

City have nevertheless won six of their last seven games in the MLS to recover from a slow start to the season, with only one win in their opening five.

Ronny Deila's side sit a point from Philadelphia Union at the top of the Eastern Conference following the Union's 2-0 win on the road over Portland Timbers in Sunday's final game.

Elsewhere in the East, CF Montreal and New York RB both dropped points, losing to Real Salt Lake and Inter Miami respectively.

Orlando City let a two-goal lead within the opening 25 minutes slip, meanwhile, going down to nine men and eventually playing out a 2-2 draw away to Austin FC.

Moussa Kalilou Djitte's equaliser in the 95th minute salvaged a point for Austin, who could not manage to retake top spot in the Western Conference from Los Angeles FC.

Los Angeles Galaxy lost their second in the three games, going down 3-0 to Houston Dynamo, while FC Dallas also lost to Minnesota United.

The Seattle Sounders' disappointing start to the MLS season continued on Sunday, losing 1-0 to Colorado Rapids, while the SJ Earthquakes and Sporting KC played out a 1-1 draw.

After two goals in the opening ten minutes, Daniel Rios provided an 85th-minute winner for Charlotte as they defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1.  

Los Angeles FC momentarily moved to the top of the Western Conference in the MLS on Saturday, claiming a 2-0 victory over Columbus Crew.

Goals in the second half from Carlos Vela and Jose Cifuentes handed LAFC the three points, to put them three points clear of Austin FC, who have a game in hand.

James Igbekeme missed from close range for the Crew in the third minute and with the majority of possession, failed to create anything of substance from that point.

LAFC were able to punish them in transition through Vela in the 62nd minute, darting in behind the defensive line before finishing past Eloy Room.

Cifuentes doubled the margin in the 73rd minute, left with a relatively simple finish after Cristian Arango claimed the ball just outside the penalty area in a comical loss of possession from a Crew goal kick.

The win moves LAFC to 26 points from 13 games but elsewhere in the Western Conference, Nashville SC were unable to move to fourth, twice letting the lead slip in a 2-2 draw with Atlanta United.

In the Eastern Conference, DC United and Toronto FC also played out a 2-2 draw, while Tommy McNamara's spectacular finish in the 89th minute handed the New England Revolution a 3-2 win over Cincinnati.

Barcelona have announced that they will face Major League Soccer sides Inter Miami and New York Red Bulls in the United States as part of their pre-season.

Barca still have one competitive game of the 2021-22 campaign to play – at home to Villarreal on Sunday – yet plans are in place for their preparations ahead of next season. 

Xavi's side will face David Beckham's Miami, who have been linked with Barcelona great Lionel Messi, at DRV PNK Stadium on July 19 and the Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena 11 days later.

With a big gap between those two fixtures, it has been reported that Barca are still hoping to arrange high-profile friendlies against Real Madrid and Juventus.

It will be the Catalan giants' first pre-season tour in three years, when also visiting USA and Japan, owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

Barca also have a friendly pencilled in this month, having previously announced an exhibition match against an A-League All Stars team in Sydney on May 25, less than 48 hours after their match with Villarreal. 

Austin FC moved to the top of the Western Conference in MLS on Wednesday, securing a gritty 2-1 win over Los Angeles FC.

Goals from Ruben Gabrielsen and Diego Fagundez gave Austin the vital three points, with Carlos Vela's response from the penalty spot in the 86th minute providing mere consolation for LAFC.

Gabrielsen put the home side in front in the 13th minute after Fagundez zipped a dangerous corner in, coolly finishing when the ball fell his way.

Josh Wolff's side looked to absorb pressure from LAFC, and Fagundez was able to double their advantage in the 80th minute after he was played through by Sebastian Driussi.

Vela's goal, which made him the third-fastest player to 100 MLS goal involvements (98 games), was not enough for a largely passive LAFC, who could not translate possession into chances of substance. They accumulated a non-penalty expected goals total of 1.12 from the 17 shots aside from Vela's spot-kick.

Austin lead LAFC on goal difference atop the West on 23 points, with FC Dallas remaining on 22 points after the Vancouver Whitecaps came from behind to defeat them 2-1 late on.

The LA Galaxy missed their chance to make up ground, only managing a 1-1 draw with Minnesota United despite Sacha Kljestan putting them ahead in the 83rd minute.

Elsewhere in the West, the Seattle Sounders continued their recovery from a slow start to the season, defeating the Houston Dynamo 1-0, while Sporting Kansas City beat the Colorado Rapids 2-1 in a game that saw four red cards in stoppage time.

A Jamiro Monteiro brace helped the San Jose Earthquakes defeat the Portland Timbers 3-2, as Nashville's strong start at GEODIS Park continued with a 2-1 victory over CF Montreal.

New York City gained ground on the Philadelphia Union with a 2-0 win over DC United, scoring twice in the first half to move within a point of the Eastern Conference leaders, who were held to a goalless draw by Inter Miami.

In Wednesday's early result, Xherdan Shaqiri scored what he thought was a late winner for the Chicago Fire, only for the New York Red Bulls' Patryk Klimala to score in the first minute of stoppage time to secure a 3-3 draw.

While his old club Liverpool battle to finish in first place in the Premier League, Xherdan Shaqiri is top of the money tree in Major League Soccer with the Chicago Fire.

Switzerland international Shaqiri is the highest-earning player in the US-centred top flight, new figures released on Tuesday by the MLS Players' Association (MLSPA) revealed.

The 30-year-old is on a base annual salary of $7.35million, with guaranteed compensation of $8.15million.

Shaqiri left Liverpool at the end of last season to join French club Lyon, but he spent less than six months in Ligue 1 before being signed as a designated player by Chicago in February.

He became the Fire's most expensive acquisition, reportedly costing €6.5million ($7.5million), and was described by Chicago sporting director Georg Heitz as "a game-changing player".

The club's new number 10 has scored two goals and had three assists in nine games to date for Chicago.

On the money list, he sits ahead of LA Galaxy's former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward Javier Hernandez ($6million base salary) and Inter Miami's Gonzalo Higuain ($5.1million), another Madrid old boy.

Top five highest base salary earners in MLS, according to MLSPA (players under contract on April 15 2022):

1. Xherdan Shaqiri, Chicago Fire, $7.35million ($8.15million guaranteed compensation)
2. Javier Hernandez, LA Galaxy, $6million ($6million guaranteed)
3. Gonzalo Higuain, Inter Miami, $5.1million ($5.79million guaranteed)
4. Alejandro Pozuelo, Toronto FC, $3.8million ($4.69million guaranteed)
5. Josef Martinez, Atlanta United, $3.7million ($4.14million guaranteed)

Giorgio Chiellini asserted it was the right time to end his Juventus career after making his final home appearance for the club, revealing Italy's failure to reach the Qatar World Cup influenced his decision.

Chiellini played the first 17 minutes of a Serie A clash with Lazio on Monday, in which Juve threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2.

First-half goals from Dusan Vlahovic and Alvaro Morata looked set to ensure the Bianconeri marked the Allianz Stadium swansong of Chiellini – and Paulo Dybala – with a win, only for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to equalise with the final kick of the game after Alex Sandro put through his own net.

The 37-year-old defender, who has won 20 trophies during his incredible career with the Turin giants, has made 392 top-flight appearances for the club, a tally bettered only by Gianluigi Buffon (489) and Alessandro Del Piero (467).

With Juventus guaranteed to finish fourth in Serie A after enduring a frustrating season, which also saw them lose the Coppa Italia final to Inter, Chiellini said the time had come for the Bianconeri's young players to take centre stage.

"The decision came in months, weeks, not days," he told Sky Sports Italia. "I have always said that I would like to leave at a high level, and I succeeded. 

"It was a difficult year, for Juventus and for me, but in the matches I managed, I played at my level. 

"All this led me to leave now, to leave room for young people. Juve need to restart, and young people have to take responsibility and mature. I helped to clip some people's wings, now it's right for them to fly alone. 

"I will cheer for them from near or far, and I made this decision with joy and serenity."

The legendary Chiellini has made 25 appearances for Juventus in all competitions this season, 17 of them starts.

Chiellini will end his Italy career after facing Argentina at Wembley Stadium on June 1, having won 116 caps to date during a glittering career with the Azzurri.

Having helped Italy to Euro 2020 glory last year, he revealed March's shock World Cup qualification play-off defeat to North Macedonia had influenced his desire to step away from both Serie A and international football.

"Of course, I wanted to get to the World Cup. It was the obsession I had after the European Championship," he added. "It is inevitable that I cannot play every match, but I wanted to be part of the national group. 

"It didn't go the way we wanted, which accelerated my choice. [But] I leave a national team and a Juve in good hands."

Chiellini is not planning on retiring, however, and has been linked with a potential move to Major League Soccer.

Although he said he had not yet made a final decision regarding his future, Chiellini hinted that a move abroad would interest him. 

"I don't know. It has attracted me, but for 10 years, I have to decide at home," he added. 

"An experience abroad enriches you, I think I need to see a little outside my life and Juve. I have to understand together with the family, I have to take a look outside, also for my future."

The Seattle Sounders claimed a vital win to kick-start their MLS season, springing to life in the second half to defeat Minnesota United 3-1 at home.

Goals from Raul Ruidiaz, Nico Lodeiro and Cristian Roldan handed the Sounders a critical three points, after winning two of their opening eight games in the league.

Despite the majority of possession in the opening 45 minutes, they went into the interval down 1-0 after Robin Lod scored in the 34th minute.

The recent CONCACAF Champions League winners were then awarded a penalty which Raul Ruidiaz converted in the 50th minute and they snatched the lead with a long-range blast from Cristian Roldan in the 74th.

Lodeiro sealed the victory for the Sounders in fourth minute of stoppage time, getting on the end of Roldan's incisive cross.

Following wins for the Colorado Rapids and Houston Dynamo, the Sounders needed the three points and remain five points from the Western Conference's last playoff spot in 11th.

After a back-and-forth contest where both sides had the lead, meanwhile, Atlanta United and the New England Revolution drew 2-2 in Sunday's MLS action.

It was Atlanta who jumped ahead early through Thiago Almada's terrific strike from outside the box 15 minutes in, before Adam Buksa equalised for New England 15 minutes later from a tough angle.

Buksa put New England in front with his second goal, coming 10 minutes into the second half, but it would be short-lived as Atlanta's Luiz Araujo equalised eight minutes later, tying things up in the 63rd minute.

There would be another pair of golden chances down the stretch, as Buksa blew his chance at a hat trick in the 83rd minute as he missed from inside the six-yard box, before Araujo missed almost an identical chance down the other end less than a minute later.

The action-packed spectacle featured a combined 40 shots, with Atlanta the more hard-done-by of the two sides, finishing with 26 shots to New England's 14, and 1.81 expected goals to New England's 1.12.

With the draw, Atlanta held on to seventh place in the Eastern Conference, while New England is down in 11th.

Lorenzo Insigne pledged to return to Napoli after scoring on his final home appearance for the club, having agreed to join Toronto FC at the end of his contract next month.

The 30-year-old scored from the penalty spot as Napoli secured a top-three finish in Serie A with a 3-0 win over Genoa on Sunday, taking his tally to 122 goals in all competitions for the club he joined as a 15-year-old in 2006.

That goal made Insigne the second-highest goalscorer in Napoli's history in his own right, moving him clear of Marek Hamsik's tally of 121. Only team-mate Dries Mertens, with 148, has scored more goals for the club.

Insigne has scored nine penalties in Serie A this season, more than any other player in the top-five European leagues, and has hit double figures for both goals (13) and assists (10) in all competitions in his final season with Luciano Spalletti's side.

After the full-time whistle, Insigne was in tears as he told DAZN that Napoli was his "home". 

"I thank all the fans who came to the stadium today to cheer me on, as a Neapolitan it is an immense joy," he said. "In time, the first thing I will do is come back here, this is my home, and you never forget home.

"The love for the city and the jersey is too strong. There are also moments in which choices have to be made. 

"Unfortunately, the club and I made this choice, we are happy, both me and them.

"I gave everything, I have no regrets. The fans have always shown me their affection for me, I will always carry it inside."

Insigne refused to comment on whether he would have preferred to end his career with the Naples club, however, stressing that he simply wished to enjoy his send-off at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

"Now I don't feel like saying these things, I made my choice and the club theirs. We are fine like this. I just want to enjoy this moment," he said.

"Even if I go far away my heart is here. I will come to see Napoli in the stands as soon as possible because this is my home."

FC Dallas placed themselves in the race for top spot in the Western Conference, defeating Los Angeles Galaxy 3-1 in the MLS on Saturday.

Three goals in the opening 23 minutes, including a brace from Jesus Ferreira, set the Toros up for a critical three points after slip-ups from both Austin FC and Los Angeles FC.

Douglas Costa's well-taken free-kick in the 67th minute proved to be mere consolation, as the Galaxy failed to break Dallas down and force their way back into the contest.

Dallas now sit second in the West, a point off LAFC, who conceded two penalties in the opening 30 minutes to lose 2-0 to Colorado Rapids.

With the win, the Toros were able to go past Galaxy and Austin, who let slip a 1-0 lead at half-time following Daniel Pereira's red card to lose 2-1 to Real Salt Lake.

There were goals galore elsewhere in the West, with Portland Timbers giving Sporting KC a 7-2 trouncing while Houston Dynamo defeated Nashville SC 2-0. The Vancouver Whitecaps and SJ Earthquakes played out a 3-3 draw.

Elsewhere, Philadelphia Union's 1-1 draw with New York RB has made for up a three-way tie atop the Eastern Conference.

Daniel Gazdag put the Union ahead after some neat combination with Sergio Santos at the top of the penalty area in the 47th minute, but Luquinhas managed to restore parity with his goal in the 66th minute.

They are joined at the top of the East following respective wins for CF Montreal and Orlando City over Charlotte and Toronto FC.

New York City were able to make up ground with their 2-0 win over Columbus Crew and Cincinnati beat Chicago Fire 2-1, while Inter Miami and DC United played out a 2-2 draw. 

 

United States centre-back Miles Robinson is a major doubt for the World Cup after rupturing the Achilles tendon in his left leg.

The 25-year-old sustained the non-contact injury in the 14th minute of Atlanta United's 4-1 MLS win over Chicago Fire on Saturday.

Robinson, who has been capped 21 times by USA, slammed the turf in frustration and was stretchered off.

Atlanta confirmed on Monday that the defender will undergo surgery to rectify the damage.

While no timeframe has been given for Robinson's return, he is not likely to play again before Qatar 2022, which runs from November 21 until December 18.

He had become a regular for USA alongside Walker Zimmerman in their World Cup qualifying campaign, but coach Gregg Berhalter may now be forced to rethink his plans.

Berhalter's side have been drawn in a group alongside England, Iran and one of Scotland, Ukraine or Wales.

Los Angeles Galaxy made up important early ground in the Western Conference, securing a 1-0 win away to Austin FC on Sunday.

Marco Delgado's strike in the sixth minute was enough to separate the two sides as the Galaxy moved to third on 19 points, a point behind Austin and four points from rivals Los Angeles FC atop the conference.

In what was a sluggish opening, Delgado intercepted the ball high up the pitch and struck home from just outside the penalty area to put the Galaxy in front, with the ball deflecting in off the post and past Andrew Tarbell in the Austin goal.

For all their possession in the second half, Austin's best chance came via a dead ball from Sebastian Driussi, who hit the post in the 89th minute.

In contrast, Galaxy were not able to capitalise from a number of opportunities in transition, but they were still able to emerge with a vital three points.

Earlier on Sunday, the Vancouver Whitecaps defeated Toronto FC 1-0 in the all-Canadian matchup, but remain bottom of the Western Conference.

After Thomas Hasal saved Alejandro Pozuelo's penalty in the 34th minute, substitutes Lucas Cavallini and Tosaint Ricketts combined for the Caps, with Ricketts scoring the winner against his former team in the 90th minute.

In Sunday's other result, Nashville SC defeated Real Salt Lake 2-0. David Romney found the breakthrough in the 63rd minute, before C.J. Sapong sealed it in stoppage time.

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