Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a brace to help LA Galaxy end their losing run in MLS, while Real Salt Lake claimed an impressive win on Wednesday.

Ibrahimovic struck twice in the second half to see Galaxy beat Dallas 2-0 at Dignity Health Sports Park in California.

The superstar striker side-footed in a Jorgen Skjelvik cross to put the hosts ahead in the 68th minute.

Ibrahimovic sealed Galaxy's win from the penalty spot, moving onto 18 goals in 20 MLS games this season.

Galaxy surged into third in the Western Conference after ending a three-match losing streak in MLS, while Dallas are eighth.

Real Salt Lake are fourth after a 3-0 win over Seattle Sounders at Rio Tinto Stadium.

A deflected effort from Sam Johnson put RSL ahead before Albert Rusnak drilled in a second from the edge of the area with 19 minutes remaining.

Corey Baird sealed RSL's win as they extended their unbeaten league run to six games and left the Sounders in fifth in the table.

Elsewhere, Darwin Quintero's goal saw Minnesota United edge Colorado Rapids 1-0 and Orlando City overcame Sporting Kansas City 1-0.

In the day's final game, Portland Timbers recorded a 3-2 win over a 10-man Chicago Fire.

Frank de Boer celebrated his first piece of silverware as Atlanta United head coach after the MLS champions overcame America 3-2 in the Campeones Cup.

Former Inter and Crystal Palace boss De Boer replaced Gerardo Martino, who guided Atlanta to their first MLS title in 2018 before taking charge of Mexico.

De Boer claimed his first title with Atlanta on Wednesday thanks to a second-half comeback at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

In the annual North American clash – pitting the MLS champions against the Liga MX winners after kicking off last year – Atlanta made a dream start courtesy of Emerson Hyndman midweek.

Hyndman broke the deadlock after just five minutes, but Mexican giants America hit back via Renato Ibarra eight minutes later in Atlanta.

Ibarra's shot went in off the crossbar, though Atlanta had a golden chance to restore their lead, however Josef Martinez's 41st-minute penalty was kept out by Oscar Jimenez.

Martinez was made to pay for his miss as America's Roger Martinez put the visitors ahead approaching the hour mark.

America's lead was short-lived, however, after Jeff Larentowicz's wonder strike levelled proceedings two minutes later and Martinez made amends for his penalty miss – the Atlanta star converting a 65th-minute spot-kick.

 

 

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has joined Seattle Sounders' ownership group in MLS.

Seahawks star Wilson, along with his wife Ciara and various other prominent members of the Seattle community, joined the Sounders ownership group on Tuesday. 

It comes as founding owner Joe Roth departs the Sounders, who won the MLS Cup in 2016 after joining the league as an expansion team in 2009.

"Seattle means so much to me and Ciara," Wilson said in a news release. "We're fired up about being part of the Sounders for a long, long time, having ownership in the Sounders and continuing to build that winning culture.

"When I got here in 2012, Seattle was a place that I felt I could call home forever. And obviously because of the Seahawks, and now because of the Sounders, it makes that really come to life. We're really excited about building that winning culture. This city is a special place. The Pacific Northwest is a place we love and we get to raise our kids here and have a lot of fun while doing it. We want to bring the best soccer players in the world right here to Seattle."

Wilson added: "We think this is a transformational sport. It changes peoples' lives. It brings people together from all different countries, all different worlds, all different socio-economic statuses, all different races, all different troubles in life — it brings people together. That's what we're excited about for this game, this team, and what we can do in Seattle."

Wilson – a five-time NFL Pro Bowler – has had hopes of becoming a sports owner in the past when he and Ciara made an effort to bring an MLB team to Portland.

It seems like the Sounders were a good investment, though. In 2018, Forbes ranked the team as the third-most valuable MLS squad at $310million. 

Seattle hip-hop star Macklemore and his wife, Tricia Davis, headlined the group. Others include a handful of current and former Microsoft executives. 

The 11 new owners join Adrian Hanauer, Drew Carey and Jody Allen.

Mike Petke has been sacked as Real Salt Lake head coach after serving a three-match MLS ban for abusing a referee in a Leagues Cup fixture.

Petke was sent off following RSL's defeat to Tigres last month as he confronted the officials.

The coach was suspended for three MLS matches, three Leagues Cup matches and fined $25,000 for using "unacceptable and offensive language" and for his "repeated confrontational misconduct towards match officials".

Petke was also required to attend anger management, sensitivity and diversity training.

In addition, RSL suspended their coach without pay for two weeks.

He had been set to return on Monday before the club announced his departure.

A statement described "the steepest sanctions ever imposed on an MLS coach" and added: "After further deliberations and a series of constructive discussions internally and with various members of our community, we have concluded, pursuant to his employment agreement, to immediately terminate Mike Petke's employment."

The club explained: "At Real Salt Lake, we have the privilege to represent our great community and fans here locally and on a national and global basis.

"We hold all of our coaches, players, executives and staff to the highest standards of professionalism.

"As an organisation, it is vital that everyone, particularly our leadership, reflects and embodies our core values and the values of our community, treating all people with respect, civility and professionalism.

"Moreover, throughout our 15-year history, we have championed diversity, acceptance and inclusion throughout our organisation, our stadiums and our community. This is a responsibility that we take very seriously."

RSL have replaced Petke with assistant Freddy Juarez on an interim basis until the end of the season, having collected seven points from three games in the coach's absence.

Petke, who won the 2013 Supporters' Shield with New York Red Bulls, has been infamously outspoken in the past.

Last year, he challenged MLS to "drain my bank account, I don't give a s*** any more" in an incredible rant as he criticised officials following a loss to Minnesota United. He was banned for two matches and fined $10,000.

Neymar may be close to securing his return to Barcelona after all.

After leaving Barca for a world-record fee in 2017, Neymar has made it clear he wants out of Paris Saint-Germain and re-joining the LaLiga champions has emerged as an option.

While Real Madrid have been linked, Neymar could be granted a Camp Nou comeback.

 

TOP STORY – PSG EYE COUTINHO IN NEYMAR TRANSFER

Paris Saint-Germain would accept Philippe Coutinho in a deal that would send Neymar back to Barcelona, reports RMC Sport.

Neymar sat out Sunday's 3-0 Ligue 1 victory over Nimes amid links to Barca and LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

Talks between PSG and Barca have hit an impasse as the French champions look to recoup most of the €222million they invested in Neymar two years ago.

Barca have already invested heavily in the transfer market, however, talks between the two clubs have accelerated thanks to the possible inclusion of Coutinho and cash. At the other end of the spectrum, Sport says talks have stalled as PSG demand three players in addition to a fee.

 

ROUND-UP 

- Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is top of Inter's wish list before the transfer window shuts in Europe. Tuttosport claims Mauro Icardi's possible exit to either Juventus or Napoli would finance a deal for the Serbia international, who was tipped to move to Manchester United if Paul Pogba left for Real Madrid. Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic is also a target for Inter, according to reports in Spain.

- The window may have closed in England, however, The Sun says Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard wants to sign Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell when the club's transfer ban ends.

- Inter winger Ivan Perisic is scheduled to undergo a medical at Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, according to Corriere dello Sport. Former Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg star Perisic is poised to return to Germany via Bayern on a season-long loan deal with the option to buy.

- Tuttosport says Juventus full-back Luca Pellegrini is set to re-join Cagliari on loan. Pellegrini – who spent the second half of last season on loan at Cagliari – only arrived in Turin from Roma in June.

Napoli are poised to sign PSV star Hirving Lozano, according to Calciomercato. The Mexico international's agent Mino Raiola has reportedly travelled to Naples to wrap up a deal.

Carlos Vela tied the record for most combined goals and assists in a single MLS season as Los Angeles FC prevailed 4-2 against New York Red Bulls, while Atlanta United's Josef Martinez made history.

Vela scored and set up two others as Supporters' Shield leaders LAFC overcame the Red Bulls in a six-goal thriller on Sunday.

The Mexico international took his season tally to 23 goals and 15 assists – matching Sebastian Giovinco's feat with 10 matches remaining in the regular season.

Vela teed up Jordan Harvey for the 23rd-minute opener before Latif Blessing doubled LAFC's lead two minutes later, however, the Red Bulls rallied from 2-0 down to level in a stunning end to the first half.

Ex-Real Sociedad winger Vela converted a penalty just past the hour to put him on track to eclipse Martinez's single-season record of 31 goals set last term.

Vela then assisted Eddie Segura 18 minutes from the end as LAFC won their third successive game to move 16 points clear of Seattle Sounders in the Western Conference and 10 ahead of Philadelphia Union in the race for the Supporters' Shield.

Meanwhile, Martinez broke an MLS record by scoring in a 10th consecutive game for Atlanta – who edged New York City 2-1.

Reigning Golden Boot winner Martinez made history with his 42nd-minute header at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where the Venezuelan also scored from the penalty spot in the second half.

Heber pulled a goal back for visiting New York, however, defending champions Atlanta were not to be denied as they consolidated second spot in the Eastern Conference.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic attempted 15 shots – the most a player has taken in an MLS game this decade – as LA Galaxy lost 2-1 to a Wayne Rooney-less DC United.

In Sunday's other match, the high-flying Union were too good for Houston Dynamo 2-1.

Josef Martinez broke an MLS record by scoring in a 10th consecutive game for Atlanta United on Sunday.

The Venezuelan forward headed in a Julian Gressel cross for the opening goal – and MLS record – in the 42nd minute against New York City at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Martinez continuing his hot streak meant he surpassed the previous best mark he briefly shared with Portland Timbers star Diego Valeri.

The 26-year-old has netted 14 times during his run, which started in May, to close in on Los Angeles FC star Carlos Vela atop the MLS goalscoring charts.

Vela has struck 22 times for the Western Conference leaders, while Martinez is up to 19 goals.

Former Torino forward Martinez enjoyed a stellar season in 2018, too, scoring 35 MLS goals to be linked with a return to Europe.

Bastian Schweinsteiger helped Chicago Fire to an important win in MLS, while Dallas won an eight-goal thriller on Saturday.

Schweinsteiger opened his account for the MLS season at the perfect time, scoring an 88th-minute winner to see Chicago edge Montreal Impact 3-2.

The former Germany and Bayern Munich star had set up Dax McCarty for the opener before Nemanja Nikolic doubled the hosts' lead.

However, Montreal fought back thanks to a Saphir Taider penalty and goal from former Arsenal and Manchester City defender Bacary Sagna.

But Schweinsteiger was the hero, heading in a Djordje Mihailovic corner for the late winner.

Former Barcelona attacker Bojan Krkic made his debut off the bench for Montreal, who are seventh in the Eastern Conference, while Chicago are 10th.

In Texas, Dallas recorded a 5-3 victory over Minnesota United thanks to Brandon Servania's heroics off the bench.

It was 3-3 when Servania was introduced in the 75th minute and he struck a dramatic late brace.

Servania tapped in a Michael Barrios cross before sealing Dallas' win thanks to a Paxton Pomykal assist, with Mason Toye sent off late for Minnesota.

Dallas are seventh in the Western Conference, while Minnesota sit third.

Elsewhere, Harry Shipp scored a brace as the Seattle Sounders were held to a 3-3 draw by New England Revolution and Toronto drew 1-1 at home to Orlando City.

Corey Baird's double saw Real Salt Lake come from behind to beat a 10-man Sporting Kansas City 2-1 and the Colorado Rapids edged the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1.

Columbus Crew played out a 2-2 draw with Cincinnati and the Portland Timbers recorded a 3-1 win over Vancouver despite a tremendous volley from Theo Bair for the Whitecaps.

John Harkes says his son is among the players to have benefited from Wayne Rooney's natural "coaching instinct" long before the England legend gets to work on the training ground at Derby County.

England's leading all-time goalscorer this week agreed to cut short his spell with DC United and join ambitious Championship side Derby as a player-coach in January.

Rooney has been a big hit in MLS and Harkes revealed that it is not only the former Manchester United striker's class on the field that has made a lasting impression.

The former United States captain recalled how his son, Ian, experienced at first hand Rooney's desire to pass on his skills and experience when they were team-mates at the Washington franchise.

The versatile ex-Derby man told Omnisport: "Wayne Rooney has made a big impact at DC. It's always good to see Wayne from a distance and you can admire his work, but you could tell he already had that coaching trait within him.

"It was present all the time, so players gravitated to him and he was like an extension of the coaching staff already at DC United when he came because of all of his experience and what he sees in the game.

"He was coaching on and off the field. I remember Ian [who now plays for Dundee United] telling me there was one training session where they did a lot of fitness and Ian was a little bit shy in terms of asking him, 'would you mind helping me with my finishing outside the box' as a midfielder breaking through the lines.

"Wayne said 'no, of course I wouldn't'. He picked up some water and a bag of balls, they went over and he was working with my son. It was fantastic to see that attitude and work ethic that he has.

"It passed on not just to the players on the pitch, but in the dressing room and everything else. He's already got that coaching instinct in him and hopefully Derby brings the best out of him as he transitions in January.

"The conversations I had with Wayne when he came to DC United early on, it was clear he was still hungry to win but also to make that transition to becoming a coach. 

"I think he is a fantastic signing for Derby and it looks to be a win-win for both an ambitious club and Wayne.

"Hopefully he focuses on being the best he can as a player, but also realises it's a learning experience for him and it'll be great for him. He's a great player and Derby are getting a guy that still wants to win trophies, so it's great for the club."

Valentin Castellanos was the hero as New York City claimed a last-gasp 3-2 victory against 10-man Houston Dynamo in MLS.

Substitute Castellanos scored a late second-half brace, including the dramatic 93rd-minute winner on Thursday.

After equalising with seven minutes of regulation remaining, Castellanos smashed home his own rebound in the third minute of stoppage time.

Scores were level at half-time in New York, where Alexandru Mitrita's 16th-minute opener was cancelled out by Dynamo midfielder Juan Cabezas, while Houston's Romell Quioto was sent off for elbowing Ronald Matarrita.

The match was delayed for almost 80 minutes due to severe storms during the interval at Yankee Stadium.

When the clash resumed, Mauro Manotas put the visitors ahead in the 77th minute before Argentine midfielder Castellanos took centre stage in the Big Apple.

New York – who have played three games less than leaders Philadelphia Union – moved up to third in the Eastern Conference with their third win in four matches, while Houston are eighth in the Western Conference following three consecutive losses.

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not a fan of the MLS play-offs as the LA Galaxy captain labelled the system "s***".

Unlike Europe, where Ibrahimovic has played for the likes of Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Inter, AC Milan and Juventus, MLS uses a play-off system to crown a champion.

The top seven teams from the Western and Eastern Conferences – which consist of 12 teams in each division – progress to the MLS Cup play-offs.

Ibrahimovic, however, does not like the post-season system after voicing his disapproval following Thursday's training session.

"I think the system is s***," Ibrahimovic told reporters in Los Angeles. "How can you learn mentality if you only have to reach the play-offs?"

"You just need to win the play-offs, and that's it. The results in each game are important, but here, if you come in seventh place, you make the play-offs and win, you are champion," the 37-year-old added.

"For me, the mentality is every day, training the way you train is the way you play a game, and with the MLS system, how do you create that mentality to be in your toes 24 hours?"

The Galaxy, who missed the play-offs last season, are fifth in the Western Conference and 15 points adrift of leaders Los Angeles FC.

Ibrahimovic – an All-Star this term – has scored 16 goals in 18 appearances for the Galaxy.

LA Galaxy have confirmed the loan signing of Argentina winger Cristian Pavon from Boca Juniors.

Pavon, who made four appearances at last year's World Cup, completed his switch to the Galaxy before Wednesday's MLS deadline, with the transfer confirmed the following day.

The 23-year-old's temporary deal through to the end of the 2019 season will be covered by targeted allocation money.

The Galaxy then reportedly have the option to extend Pavon's deal for another season, at which point the club would need to free up a Designated Player slot - their three are occupied by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Jonathan dos Santos and Romain Alessandrini.

LA were forced to cut Giovani dos Santos from their squad this season - he subsequently joined Club America - after Ibrahimovic agreed an improved contract.

It is said the Galaxy could sign Pavon to a permanent deal at the end of the 2020 campaign, with an MLS record $20million fee agreed.

Pavon had been linked with a move to the Premier League with Arsenal earlier this year.

The Galaxy's rivals and runaway Supporters' Shield frontrunners Los Angeles FC boosted their own attack with Brian Rodriguez arriving from Penarol as a Young Designated Player.

LAFC sent United States international Christian Ramirez to Houston Dynamo, while Real Salt Lake signed Kelyn Rowe, and New York Red Bulls brought in Southampton's Josh Sims until the end of the season as a Young Designated Player.

DC United completed the signing of Ola Kamara, among other deals, after agreeing to allow captain Wayne Rooney to join Derby County in January.

Rooney will leave MLS to become a player-coach at Championship club Derby next year, with the move announced on Tuesday.

But DC, already thought to be keen to make moves in the transfer window, have acted swiftly, with former Columbus Crew and LA Galaxy forward Kamara arriving on Wednesday.

The Norway international has signed for $2.5million from Shenzhen FC in China and will likely act as Rooney's replacement in attack, although he will first play alongside the former Manchester United and England skipper.

Kamara was prolific in his previous spell in MLS, scoring 16 and 18 goals in consecutive seasons with the Crew, before netting 14 last year for the Galaxy despite seeing his role impacted by the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

As well as several trades involving allocation money, DC also brought in experienced midfielder Felipe Martins from Vancouver Whitecaps and winger Emmanuel Boateng from the Galaxy.

Elsewhere, ex-Barcelona star Bojan Krkic signed for Montreal Impact, having left Stoke City earlier in the week.

The 28-year-old has agreed a deal through to the end of the 2020 season, with options for a further two years, subject to a medical.

Tottenham are ready to make a splash before the transfer window closes in England – by landing Paulo Dybala and Philippe Coutinho.

The Champions League runners-up could add the two playmakers to their squad before the window shuts on Thursday, with Christian Eriksen potentially leaving.

In what looks set to be another chaotic end to the window, Spurs could be central to plenty of movement.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS' DYBALA OFFER ACCEPTED, EYE COUTINHO LOAN

Juventus have accepted a £65million (€70.6m) offer from Tottenham for Dybala, according to Sky Sports.

Dybala has already reportedly rejected a move to Manchester United due to an unwillingness to take a pay cut, and a switch to Spurs is now in his hands.

Tottenham are also leading the race to sign Barcelona attacker Coutinho on loan, according to The Sun.

Arsenal and United are said to be interested in Coutinho as well, though a report from AS claims the Gunners are not considering a move.

 

ROUND-UP

- Spurs' moves for Dybala and Coutinho could send dominoes falling. United want to pay just £50m to take Eriksen – who is out of contract at the season's end – from Tottenham to Old Trafford, according to the Mirror.

- That would boost Real Madrid's hopes of signing Paul Pogba from United. Sport and Marca report the France international's chances of leaving the Red Devils rest on their ability to sign a replacement – like Eriksen – before the window closes in England.

- Barca are attempting to accelerate Neymar's return to Camp Nou. The cover of Sport says the Spanish champions are looking for Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic – who is potentially set for Paris Saint-Germain – to depart so they can land the Brazil star from the Ligue 1 giants.

- With Romelu Lukaku potentially set for Inter, Man United are looking for a replacement. Yahoo Sport France say the Premier League club have made an offer for Lyon forward Moussa Dembele.

- While Arsenal's possible chase of Coutinho is uncertain, they have been linked with defenders after Laurent Koscielny's departure to Bordeaux. Italian journalist Alfredo Pedulla reports Juve centre-back Daniele Rugani has agreed terms with the Gunners, who may initially take him on a two-year loan before paying £36.9m (€40m).

- Staying at the Emirates Stadium, Mesut Ozil could finally be set for the exit. The Mirror reports Ozil's representatives are set for talks with DC United over a move to MLS, where the German could replace Wayne Rooney after the forward's move to Derby County in January was confirmed.

 

Incoming Derby County player-coach Wayne Rooney's ultimate aim is to become Manchester United manager, according to Rio Ferdinand.

Rooney will take his first steps into coaching with Derby when he leaves DC United in January, having agreed his departure from MLS on Tuesday.

But former United team-mate Ferdinand believes Rooney is already looking beyond his role at Pride Park.

Rooney is United’s record goalscorer, netting 253 times in 559 appearances in all competitions.

And Ferdinand sees a future plan for Rooney to take Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's place in the dugout, echoing ex-England colleague and former Derby boss Frank Lampard, who recently got his big chance at Chelsea.

"His endgame is managing Manchester United, 100 per cent," Ferdinand told several British newspapers.

"It's a fact. If he tells you any different, he's lying. He will want to do that.

"Only time will tell if he's going to be the man to be able to do that.

"A lot of things have got to marry up for that to happen. Frank was right place, right time.

"Can that happen for Wayne? We'll see."

Ferdinand believes Rooney has the right temperament for management, adding: "He's not scared of sharing his opinion, which is a good thing.

"He can be hard to read sometimes, which I think is something that's good to have in a manager as well.

"I think he's got a good understanding of today’s player. He's that age. He's still connected to the younger generation. He can talk the language.

"There are a lot of managers out there now who are a bit detached from the next generation. It's so different now."

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