The soccer news starts with MLS operating in the transfer market. Not only did the Miguel Almiron to Newcastle deal become official, Seb Giovinco left Toronto FC for Saudi Arabia's Al-Hilal. Now, rumors have DC United's Luciano Acosta potentially moving for big money by MLS standards. The league's commitment to selling players and fully operating in the transfer market is already taking hold, though it's worth asking about the MLS version of replacement level players.
Quality control has always been an issue for the league. Now at 24 teams, affording the types of squads fans will pay to see is a question in some markets. Even in the well-funded markets, moving elite players raises the question of who replaces them. If those replacements aren't in place for the start of 2019, it's a message a club might not want to send.
"His departure presents both challenges and opportunities," Toronto GM Ali Curtis said in the statement announcing the Giovinco move. "Obviously, replacing a player like Sebastian is difficult, but we are working diligently and are confident that we will be adding a new Designated Player in the near future who will be an exciting addition to our team.”
That might be the only response to moving a marquee player. Atlanta United did that by signing Pity Martinez, but that's a unique answer to a specific situation. Expecting that from other MLS teams is asking an awful lot.
TSN's Kristian Jack on what Seb Giovinco meant for Toronto FC. Giovinco made his feelings about leaving Toronto clear in an Instagram post. The Washington Post's Steven Goff reports that PSG might be interested in DC United's Luciano Acosta. Atlanta United officially announced Miguel Almiron's transfer to Newcastle United for a record-setting fee that the league won't officially disclose. American Soccer Now's Brian Sciaretta on the Almiron deal and MLS in the transfer market.
Moving to the soccer scores for USMNT players in Europe and Mexico, Timothy Weah subbed on in the 73rd minute for Celtic's 2-0 home win over St Johnstone in the Scottish Premier League. Callum McGregor scored in the 53rd with Ryan Christie doubling the lead in the 55th. Celtic goalkeeper Scott Bain kept the clean sheet without needing to make a save.
"It’s still very early," Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers said. "There’s still a load more games to go. We’re just entering into the beginning of February so there’s still a long, long way. But I think we’ve looked at that free game for the last two months and wondered if we were going to win it because we’re playing against a good side. We did that and I thought we played very nice. We have six points, a good goal difference, clean sheets and defending very well, but still a way to go."
Andrew Wooten's Sandhausen lost 2-1 at Hamburg in the 2.Bundesliga. Trailing from the 45th, Wooten converted a penalty in the 65th minute. Hamburg scored again three minutes later. In the Copa MX, Rubio Rubin subbed on in the 68th minute for Dorados in their 1-0 loss at Zacatepec. The game's only goal came in the 90th minute. William Yarbrough was in goal for Leon's 1-1 draw at Alebrijes de Oaxaca. Vinicio Angulo scored for Leon in the 41st minute with Alebrijes de Oaxaca equalizing two minutes into stoppage time.
Did Not Play: Emerson Hyndman (Bournemouth 4 - Chelsea 0), Michael Orozco (Lobos BUAP 0 - Veracruz 0)
ESPN's Mark Ogden urges Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri to look at the club's recent past for how much time he'll get to turn things around. AP's Rob Harris reports on La Liga president Javier Tebas opposing PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi joining UEFA's executive committee.
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