Timbers sign Argentina youth international Conechny

The Portland Timbers have announced the signing of Argentina youth international Tomas Conechny on loan from Superliga Argentina club San Lorenzo. 

The 20-year-old joins the club for the rest of the 2018 MLS season, and the Timbers have a purchase option on the player attached to the loan deal. 

Despite breaking into the top side in 2016, Conechny has made just 14 appearances in the top division for San Lorenzo since then. 

The midfielder was a highly regarded prospect in Argentina and has made over 20 appearances for his country at various youth levels. 

“We are pleased to announce the addition of Tomas Conechny to our group during this summer transfer window,” said Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson in a team release. “He is a player we have been following closely, and we believe he has a bright future ahead of him as a player who can play any of the attacking positions.

“We have been looking to add a young, talented dynamic player and feel that, in Tomas, we have a player who can help contribute short term, while also giving us a long-term solution in several positions. The opportunity to bring him to Portland was a unique one, and the fact he had already been watched live many times made this possible when we had to move quickly to acquire him.”

The Timbers already boast a number of Argentine players, including Diego Valeri, Sebastian Blanco and Lucas Melano, who is currently on loan at Estudiantes.

Portland currently sits fourth in the Western Conference, eight points back of conference leader FC Dallas with two games in hand. 

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Panama boss Gomez steps down after World Cup

Hernan Dario Gomez has stepped down as Panama head coach after leading the Central American nation at their maiden World Cup.

Panama reached Russia 2018 in a dramatic final round of qualifying matches, with Roman Torres’ late goal downing rivals Costa Rica as the United States lost to Trinidad and Tobago.

Gomez’s side found the going predictably tough at the tournament, losing all three matches in Group G, including a 6-1 defeat to England in a game where they were 5-0 down at half-time.

“Now, for me, it is the time for the difficult act of moving my feet from the place where I have put my heart,” Gomez said in a statement published on the Panama Football Federation’s (FEPAFUT) official website.

“Russia 2018 was the beginning, I fulfilled my promise to take Panama to its first football World Cup and that will remain in my heart, and those of all Panamanians, for life.

“Panama is on a secure path to continue making history in football.”

Gomez, 62, also led his native Colombia at France 1998 before taking charge of Ecuador at the 2002 World Cup.

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Taiwo Awoniyi hopes to make the grade at Liverpool after new long-term deal

Following the commitment of his future to the English Premier League outfit, Taiwo Awoniyi hopes to, ‘one day’, feature in Liverpool’s senior setup.

The 20-year-old who had two years left on his previous contract was handed an extension on Tuesday – after an impressive 2017-18 campaign away in Belgium with Royal Excel Mouscron.

He will, again, be going out on loan having yet to secure a UK work permit. That has, however, not stopped the dreams of the youngster who was snapped from Imperial Soccer Academy in 2015.

“When I was told about the contract I was so eager to get it done, to move onto the next stage, going out on loan or being a Liverpool player,” Awoniyi told club website.

“My ambition is to work hard wherever I find myself and hopefully be a better player.

“Last season was the best season for me so far. It was a bit tough for me to be there alone but I just had to keep on working hard and try as much as possible for the best and work for the success of the team. They stayed in the league. It was a great year for me.

“Going from Germany [FSV Frankfurt] to Holland [NEC Nijmegen] and to Belgium [Royal Excel Mouscron] was a big career move for me as a player. My thanks to Liverpool for that. It helped me a lot to develop more as a player.

“I’m a Liverpool player for more years and the plan is to keep on working hard and hopefully get back here one day.”

awoniyi ps

Liverpool experienced an unprecedented resurgence last season that saw them reach the final of the Uefa Champions League, and central to those feats were African duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino – Awoniyi’s ‘favourite player’.

“It was an amazing year for the club, with the likes of Mane, Salah and my favourite player, Firmino. He works so hard for the team, plays for the team and makes the job easier for the team.

“Mane and Salah have really done well for the club and shown the world what Africa has got. Many African players have this talent – it’s just the opportunity sometimes.”

Awoniyi has experienced success with Nigeria in the past; playing a major role in the country’s run to another U17 World Cup trophy in 2013.

And the striker hopes his showing in another loan spell in the upcoming season paves a way to Gernot Rohr’s heart.

“That is a big part of the ambition for me,” he continued.

“I have played for many years with the youth teams and I look forward to hopefully getting a chance with the senior team. This season will be the one they judge me on. Hopefully, I will do it.

“It was unfortunate that we didn’t get through the [group] at the World Cup. Nigeria are a team with a lot of talent, looking at the team at the World Cup, it had a lot of young talent. I believe Nigeria will come back again as a giant of Africa.”

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Rhian Brewster signs five-year professional contract at Liverpool

Rhian Brewster has ended speculation over his future by signing a five-year professional contract.

The 18-year-old has rejected interest from a number of clubs, including Bundesliga duo Borussia Monchengladbach and RB Leipzig, to commit his long-term future to the Reds. He will be part of Jurgen Klopp’s senior squad this season.

Speaking after putting pen to paper on his first pro deal, Brewster told Liverpool’s official website: “It feels great. I’ve wanted to do this for a very long time now and I think it’s the right moment for me and my family. I’m looking forward to getting back fit and making some appearances.

“Since I got here the club has been amazing to me and treated me like family. It seems like I’ve been here my whole life, to be honest. It’s coming up to my fifth season now.

“I [still] remember my first training session. It’s amazing and I can’t wait to get started.”

Brewster is rated highly by Klopp, who made it clear in discussions with the striker that he sees a pathway to first-team football at Anfield.

“He has been key,” Brewster told the club site of the manager.

“Obviously I’ve had conversations with him and I’m just hoping he puts his faith in me and gives me an opportunity to play. I think he will, that’s why I wanted to stay here. Hopefully we can push on, not just as a team but as a club.”

That first team chance well have come last season, had the teenager not suffered a nasty ankle and knee injury playing for Liverpool’s Under-23 side in January. The Londoner is still recovering from that injury, though he is expected to return to light training next month. He will remain at Melwood when Klopp’s squad flies to the USA for their three-game tour on Saturday morning.

“I’d like to think that would have happened but obviously we’ll never know because of what happened,” he said. “But hopefully this year I will get my professional debut and push on from there.”

Speaking to Goal exclusively last month, Brewster said he was desperate to play senior football this season, whether at Liverpool at elsewhere. He and his representatives considered the idea of leaving Merseyside, with offers from both Gladbach and Leipzig taken seriously. After lengthy discussions with Klopp, director of football Michael Edwards and Academy chief Alex Inglethorpe, however, it was decided that staying at Liverpool was best for the England youth international’s development.

Brewster enjoyed a rapid rise to fame in 2017, appearing on the bench for Liverpool’s first team in a game against Crystal Palace and then making national headlines for his exploits with the England U17 team.

First, he helped Steve Cooper’s team to the final of the European Championships where they lost on penalties to Spain, then he went one better by firing them to World Cup glory in India. His eight goals made him the tournament’s leading goalscorer.

Rhian Brewster England U17

He also received widespread praise after bravely detailing, in an interview with The Guardian, numerous instances where he suffered racial abused playing for club and country. At the Football Writers’ Association’s end of season awards ceremony, he was mentioned by Klopp in a speech given to honour Footballer of the Year Mohamed Salah. Brewster, speaking to Goal, said Liverpool’s support during that period was something he would not forget.

Now, he gets the chance to repay them in goals and performances.

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Taiwo Awoniyi commits long-term future to Liverpool with new deal

Taiwo Awoniyi has committed his long-term future to Liverpool after agreeing on a new deal with the English Premier League outfit on Tuesday.

The contract extension comes on the back of his exploits last season while on loan at Belgian top-flight outfit Royal Excel Mouscron.

Awoniyi found the back of the net 10 times – including two goals to help Mouscron qualify for a Europa League play-off spot – and laid on seven others in 31 games across all competitions.

The feat placed him just behind the deadly trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane as the club’s highest goalscorer in the 2017-18 season.

Taiwo Awoniyi

Awoniyi joined the Reds from Imperial Soccer Academy in 2015 and, prior to 2017-18 season, was sent on loan twice at FSV Frankfurt and NEC Nijmegen.

The two stints in Germany and Netherlands ended in disappointments before his fine form in Belgium last campaign.

Speaking with club website, the former U17 World Cup winner said: “I feel excited and I feel very happy.

“It has been three years since I first came to Liverpool. So far, so good. The last year was the best for me, it has been an amazing year so far.

“I just have to keep working hard each year and I believe one day the dream will come true.

“Thanks to my family, who have been so supportive. I’m very glad and excited about this contract and hopefully to have an even better year.”

The youngster is yet to secure a UK work permit to feature in Jurgen Klopp’s plan next season and, thus, would continue life off Merseyside – a fourth loan spell.

Suitors, however, are on his trail, with Belgian top-flight sides jostling for his signature. And Liverpool, Goal understands, will only agree to a loan agreement that would ease their plan of bringing him up to the pace of top-level football.

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