FC Dallas sign Paul Arriola in MLS-record trade from D.C. United

FC Dallas signed winger Paul Arriola from D.C. United in a record-breaking trade worth over $2m. 

D.C. United is set to receive $2m in General Allocation Money up-front, as well as a potential further $300,000 GAM in performance-based incentives, while also retaining a 30% sell-on clause if Arriola is transferred outside of Major League Soccer. 

“To have a player like Paul Arriola come to FC Dallas is really an amazing thing,” Dallas President Dan Hunt said in a club statement.

“Very few players have a resume like he does at the age of 26. He’s also an incredible locker room guy. You don’t get to captain the U.S. national team if you’re not of the highest caliber and a great professional who works hard and has the admiration of his teammates and the coaching staff. We’re thrilled to welcome Paul to Dallas.”

Arriola recorded 89 MLS appearances with D.C. United after transferring from Liga MX’s Club Tijuana in 2017, recording 20 goals and 16 assists. Internationally, the winger has been capped 42 times by the USMNT. 

The player will reunite with FC Dallas head coach Nico Estevez, who previously worked with Arriola while acting as an assistant coach for the USMNT.

“I’m super excited to be joining FC Dallas and starting a new journey with this club,” Arriola said in a release. “Coming to Dallas will be a great step in my career as it will continue to help me build towards my professional goals. I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and I can’t wait to get to work with my new teammates and staff.”

Arriola shattered the league record for most GAM received from a single player. The previous statistic was held by Lewis Morgan after the New York Red Bulls acquired the player from Inter Miami for $1.2m GAM.

Arriola’s trade stands as the eighth intra-MLS deal worth $1m GAM or more since the summer, joining Kellyn Acosta, Jeremy Ebobisse, Alistair Johnston, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Maxime Crepeau, Kacper Przybylko and Lewis Morgan.

Arsenal vs Brighton – WSL: TV channel, live stream, team news & prediction

Arsenal welcome Brighton to Borehamwood on Thursday evening in a rescheduled WSL fixture.

The Gunners currently top the WSL but have endured a tough start to 2022, suffering a shock defeat to Birmingham, crashing out of the Continental Cup and needing a last-gasp Tobin Heath goal to rescue a point against Manchester City.

Brighton have also suffered a slump in form following their flying start to the season, and are without a win or goal in their last five league outings – although they did hold champions Chelsea to a 0-0 draw last time out.

Here’s everything you need to know about Sunday’s game.

When is kick off? Thursday 27 January, 19:30 (GMT)
Where is the match being played? Borehamwood
TV channel/live stream? Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Premier League

Australian trio Lydia Williams, Steph Catley and Caitlin Foord and Japanese international Mana Iwabuchi remain unavailable for Arsenal due to their involvement at the Asia Cup.

Malin Gut is a long-term injury absentee for the Gunners, while Katie McCabe misses out through suspension having picked up her fifth yellow card of the season against Manchester City on Sunday. The absence of both McCabe and Catley could result in Arsenal fielding a somewhat makeshift back four.

Leah Williamson made her return to the first-team fold against City following a two-month injury layoff but was replaced at half-time, with Jonas Eidevall explaining that the centre-back is not yet ready to play a full 90 minutes. Brazilian Rafaelle could make her full Gunners debut in place of Williamson at the back should Eidevall not wish to rush the England international back.

Brighton continue to be without Lee Guem-min, who is away at the Asia Cup with South Korea.

Should Hope Powell name an unchanged team from the side that held Chelsea last time out, this will mean a return to Borehamwood for Arsenal fan favourite Dan Carter. The striker spent 11 years with the Gunners prior to joining Reading in 2020.

Arsenal: Zinsberger; Wienroither, Wubben-Moy, Rafaelle, Maritz; Little, Nobbs, Maanum; Mead, Miedema, Parris

Brighton: Walsh; Kullberg, Williams, Kerkdijk; Le Tissier, Whelan, Connolly, Koivisto; Green, Carter, Kaagman

Arsenal have found goals hard to come by of late, and will come up against a defensively well-drilled Brighton side and a goalkeeper in Megan Walsh who has been one of the WSL’s standout performers this campaign.

However, the Gunners will be expected to have too much class for the Seagulls and get their first three points of the year on the board.

Score prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Brighton

Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema holds talks with Barcelona and PSG

Vivianne Miedema has held talks with Barcelona and PSG regarding her future, but still remains open to extending her stay at Arsenal beyond the end of the season.

The Netherlands international’s deal in north London is poised to expire following the conclusion of the 2021/22 campaign and is free to speak to other clubs. She has been linked with a move to both the French and Spanish champions, in addition to the NWSL.

Miedema has been consistently transparent about her future, with Arsenal’s ambition and ability to compete for silverware – with the Champions League a major career goal – key priorities in deciding where she will play her football next season.

According to Dutch news outlet AD – where Miedema is a new columnist – the 25-year-old has spoken with several clubs, PSG and Barcelona among them.

“In the coming weeks I have to get a feel for the right club,” Miedema said. “The door for Arsenal is definitely not closed yet.

“I want to win the Champions League. I want to get the most out of it. That means I may have to take the next step. I’m 25 and that’s still quite young, but I’ve been going for a while.

“The years to come should officially be my peak years. I have to spend it somewhere at a club that best suits my ambitions.”

Miedema joined Arsenal from Bayern Munich in 2017 and has gone on to become the WSL’s all-time top scorer during her four-and-a-half years in England.

The Gunners suffered heavy defeats home and away to Barcelona in this season’s Champions League but currently sit top of the WSL – and Miedema admitted that she is content with her life in north London.

“Life is good here,” the striker added. “And I know myself: I have to be happy off the field to perform on the field.”

Tony Meola compares Gabriel Slonina to Gianluigi Buffon

Chicago Fire’s Gabriel Slonina has been compared to goalkeeping icon Gianluigi Buffon by former United States international Tony Meola.

The 17-year-old enjoyed a remarkable rise at the end of the 2021 MLS season, starting the Fire’s final 11 games ahead of established number one Bobby Shuttleworth.

During that time, Slonina kept four clean sheets and averaged 3.91 saves per 90 minutes, some of which were truly outstanding. Despite his tender age, Slonina has shown real maturity – especially given how he’s handled the pressures of his position.

The American has since been rewarded with a couple of call-ups to the United States Men’s National Team – including for the World Cup qualifiers at the end of this month. He’s still yet to play for Gregg Berhalter’s side and remains eligible for Poland, he does have nine caps to his name across various youth levels.

Slonina is also attracting the attention of some of Europe’s biggest clubs including Atletico Madrid, as revealed by 90min.

And now, Meola – who won 100 caps for the USMNT between 1988 and 2006 – has likened Slonina’s style to the legendary Buffon, a player Meola worked up close and personal with during a training stint with Parma.

“He reminds me very much of a young Gigi Buffon,” Meola said on SiriusXM FC. “You look at his body, you look at his movements – I had the chance to be in Parma when Gigi Buffon was there and I was there for four months training and trained with Gigi and stayed friends with him over the years. He is a guy that you could tell was going to work his way through anything, and that’s kind of what I see from him and what I hear from everyone in and around the Chicago Fire.”

Meola also thinks it’s just a matter of time before Slonina fulfills his destiny in Europe and becomes the USMNT’s No.1 for years to come – though he did comment that this year’s World Cup in Qatar may be a little too early.

“He’s one day going to be the US men’s national team starting goalkeeper,” Meola continued. “That’s dependent on what happens with Zack Steffen and Matt Turner and anyone else who emerges, but I don’t know it’s this World Cup.”

He added: “I look at the pathway, and I think the pathway for him is that within the next 24 months he’s going to be in Europe and needs to be in Europe.”

Slonina is currently with Berhalter’s squad preparing for World Cup qualifiers against El Salvador, Canada, and Honduras later this month.

MLS reinstates Sporting Kansas City’s Felipe Hernandez after suspension

Major League Soccer has reinstated Sporting Kansas City midfielder Felipe Hernandez following his suspension last year for violation of the league’s gambling integrity rules and standards of conduct. 

The player was reprimanded after an independent investigation found that he placed wagers on two Major League Soccer matches. While no evidence was found that Hernandez ever bet on a game that involved his own team, he had violated MLS rules regardless. 

The investigation was launched last July after the player disclosed to Sporting Kansas City that he was concerned about his personal safety as a result of his gambling debts. 

He was originally suspended for the rest of the 2021 season, and eligible for reinstatement on January 1 upon application to MLS Commissioner Don Garber.

Now, the midfielder will be eligible to play when Sporting Kansas City’s season kicks off on February 27 when visiting Atlanta United.

“This is an opportunity for him, it’s a second opportunity,” Sporting KC manager and sporting director Peter Vermes told reporters. “He’s got to be smart about it and I think he will be. We’re providing him with all the assistance that he’s needed.

“As a player on the field, he just comes back and he’s got to try and get back into the form that he left the team last year with because he was actually in great form, his best soccer he’s been playing. And he was playing significant minutes, so he’s got preseason to work through that and try to make a spot for himself like anybody else.”

Prior to the suspension, Hernandez featured in six matches for Sporting Kansas City in 2021, recording his first career MLS goal and two assists.