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Soccer  

Veteran Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod announces retirement from international game

Veteran goalkeeper Erin McLeod, who survived a string of injuries to win 119 caps for Canada over a distinguished senior career that spanned more than two decades, has announced her retirement from international soccer.

McLeod, who turns 40 on Feb. 26, plans to continue playing club football for at least one season. The Orlando Pride announced Tuesday that McLeod and her new wife, midfielder Gunny Jonsdottir, have left the NWSL club for Jonsdottir's native Iceland where both will play.

While still enjoying her soccer, McLeod says she has found a new passion. The native of St. Albert, Alta., is transitioning to creating equity programming for grassroots soccer programs in Halifax where her older sister lives.

McLeod has long served as an LGBTQ spokeswoman. In 2014, she combined with fellow Olympian Adam van Koeverden, now parliamentary secretary to the minister of health and minister of sport, in the successful campaign to add sexual orientation to the Olympic Charter.

"I think since that moment I felt an immense amount of pride to wear the (Canadian) jersey and understand there's a bigger purpose out there, to make sure that I'm continually fighting for more people to play the game, more people to have access," McLeod told The Canadian Press. "Less discrimination and more inclusivity and more diversity.

"I think these things are really becoming more and more of what I think is important and what I want to be committed to for the rest of my life."

She says playing in Iceland will place fewer demands on her time, allowing her to "make a difference at the grassroots level."

"I have a lot of things ahead of me that I am so excited about," she said.

McLeod is also looking to help former Canadian teammate Diana Matheson in her bid to establish a domestic women's pro league.

As she leaves the international game, McLeod takes pride in the Canadian women's team on and off the field, citing its welcoming and inclusive culture.

"As I'm watching the team do unbelievable things on the field, the culture is there — the team is incredible. They stand not just for themselves, but all Canadians. I've been so incredibly lucky my whole career. I know I've had a lot of ups and downs but just to be surrounded by so many people … I'm grateful to have worked with them for my country so many times."

She also credited her family for its support.

"My family has always been there and my No. 1 supporters.."

McLeod last played for Canada on Oct. 26, 2021 in a 1-0 friendly win over New Zealand in Montreal — her 47th clean sheet.

She was in goal for the Canadian women's bronze-medal run at the 2012 London Olympics and started throughout the 2015 World Cup on home soil. She was an alternate with the team that won gold at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 but dressed for the game against Chile when Kailen Sheridan stepped in for the injured Stephanie Labbé.

Labbé, who took over from McLeod as Canada's No. 1, hung up her gloves in April. Labbé is now general manager of women’s soccer for the Vancouver Whitecaps.

McLeod was 19 when she made her Canada senior debut in a 4-0 victory over Wales in March 2002 at the Algarve Cup. An 18-year-old Christine Sinclair scored twice that day, her 22nd and 23rd career goals, the only remaining active player from the game's roster.

"I don't remember much of the game. I just remember being so nervous — like shaking," McLeod said.

"It just seems like a million years ago," she added. "I can't even believe it."

McLeod began her career with the Vancouver Whitecaps in the USL W-League in 2004. She went on to play for the Washington Freedom (2009), Sweden's Dalsjofors GoIF (2011-12), Chicago Red Stars (2013), Houston Dash (2014-15) and Sweden's FC Rosengard (2016-17) and Vaxjo DFF (2018-19) before joining the Pride. 

At the collegiate level, she played two years at Southern Methodist University and two at Penn State. As a senior, she led the led the Nittany Lions to an undefeated regular season in 2005 when she was a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

McLeod signed with Orlando in February 2020 but was loaned out to Iceland's Ungmennafelag Stjarnan during the pandemic.

She signed a new deal with the Pride in May 2022, starting every game last season barring a brief concussion-related absence. McLeod also had an arthroscopic procedure on her right knee in April.

McLeod was front and centre in Canada's memorable loss to the U.S. in the semifinals of the London Olympics. With Canada leading 3-2 in the 76th minute, Norwegian referee Christina Pedersen controversially ruled that McLeod had broken the rarely enforced six-second handling rule.

Megan Rapinoe's shot, after Tobin Heath passed her the ball from the ensuing indirect free kick in the Canadian penalty box, produced a penalty after the ball struck defender Marie-Eve Nault on the arm. The U.S. tied the game from the penalty spot and went on to win 4-3 after extra time.

McLeod was in goal as Canada defeated France 1-0 in the bronze-medal match.

She missed the 2016 Rio Olympics after undergoing her third anterior cruciate ligament surgery. At the time, one doctor told her it was time to stop playing.

McLeod, who also had surgery on her right knee in 2008 and 2010 as well a shoulder operation, thought differently.

She underwent an operation that saw a sliver of her kneecap inserted into a hole in her tibia from a previous surgery and a small strip of quadricep used as her new anterior cruciate ligament. An extra ligament, from a cadaver, was also inserted.

A painful foot issue kept her out of the 2019 World Cup in France. While it was initially thought to be plantar fasciitis, a specialist eventually diagnosed tarsal tunnel syndrome in both feet — a condition that sees swelling in the foot put pressure on the nerve.

In early 2019, McLeod announced she was joining international soccer stars like Juan Mata, Giorgio Chiellini and Alex Morgan in signing on with Common Goal, pledging one per cent of their salary to a central fund which is distributed to soccer-based charities around the world.

The organization said McLeod was the first Canadian to come on board.

That same year, she launched the Mindful Project, developed in tandem with Bethel University professor Rachel Lindvall. The goal is to help focus more on positive thoughts while moving past negative ones.

Away from soccer, McLeod is also an artist, musician and entrepreneur. In September, she designed a clothing line called "The Futures Collection" in collaboration with the Orlando Pride.

A portion of the proceeds were donated to the Zebra Coalition, an Orlando-based non-profit that aids LGBTQ youth facing homelessness, bullying and other challenges.

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Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter





FIFA bans 4 Uruguay players for disorder at World Cup

ZURICH (AP) — FIFA banned Uruguay players Fernando Muslera and José María Giménez for four games each on Friday for aggressively confronting match officials when the team was eliminated from the World Cup last month.

Veterans Edinson Cavani and Diego Godín must also serve one-game bans when Uruguay next plays, FIFA said in disciplinary verdicts.

The players must all carry out community service on a soccer project and pay fines of up to 20,000 Swiss francs ($21,600), FIFA said.

Disorder flared when Uruguay failed to advance to the round of 16 in Qatar despite beating Ghana 2-0 in its final group-stage game on Dec. 2.

The Uruguayan soccer federation was also fined 50,000 Swiss francs ($54,000) and must close some of its stadium for one home game.

FIFA disciplinary judges ruled the federation “was responsible for the discriminatory behavior of its supporters as well as for the misconduct, offensive behavior and violation of the principles of fair play” by players.

Uruguay players confronted German referee Daniel Siebert after the final whistle at Al Janoub Stadium.

They believed Uruguay should been awarded a penalty kick in stoppage time. One more goal scored would have sent Uruguay to the round of 16 instead of South Korea.

South Korea advanced instead and created one of the most memorable images of the World Cup.

As Uruguay and Ghana played out stoppage time across the city in Doha, South Korean players and staff gathered in the center circle after their 2-1 win over Portugal to watch on cellphones as their rivals played and waited to discover who would advance as runner-up in Group H.

Cavani, Godín and goalkeeper Muslera were each playing at their fourth World Cup and Giménez was at his third.

Uruguay has not yet announced its opponents for games in the late March international break.

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Toronto FC lands a new No. 1 goalkeeper in U.S. international Sean Johnson

Toronto FC landed its new goalkeeper Friday, signing U.S. international Sean Johnson through 2024.

The free agent, who spent the last six seasons with New York City FC, was signed using targeted allocation money.

The 33-year-old Johnson is a 13-year veteran of Major League Soccer. He played all 34 regular-season matches for NYCFC last year with a career-high 14 clean sheets.

Johnson has won 10 caps for the U.S and was part of the American squad team at the recent World Cup in Qatar.

Toronto conceded 66 goals last season, tying a franchise worst. Alex Bono and Quentin Westberg, who split the starting duties the last four years have since moved on — Bono to D.C. United and Westberg to Atlanta United.

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Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2023





Galtier concedes goalkeeper Keylor Navas could leave PSG

PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier is unsure if he can retain goalkeeper Keylor Navas amid reported interest from Premier League club Nottingham Forest.

With the January transfer window closing soon, the 36-year-old Navas has been linked with a move after losing his starting position to Italy's European Championship-winning goalie Gianluigi Donnarumma. Navas only plays in the French Cup.

“Keylor is a great competitor. He has been exemplary in terms of his work since the start of the season. I have total faith in him," Galtier said Friday. “But you have to consider what he's feeling and the directors and president are attentive to his needs.”

French sports daily L'Equipe's website reported Friday that the Costa Rica international has agreed to terms with Forest.

Galtier suggested he would not try to block a move.

“Because of the person he is and his career, we must respect him and listen to him,” he said.

Navas joined PSG in 2019 from Real Madrid, where he won the Champions League three times, and has played 108 games for the French champions. He was outstanding during the 2020-21 season, when he stood out with remarkable performances in the Champions League against Bayern Munich and Barcelona.

Navas has played 110 times for Costa Rica.

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Marcos Alonso agrees to contract extension with Barcelona

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona and defender Marcos Alonso have reached an agreement to extend his contract until the end of the 2023-24 season, the Spanish club said Friday.

Alonso joined Barcelona as a free agent in September after terminating his contract with Chelsea. His initial contract only tied him to Barcelona until the end of this season.

The 32-year-old Alonso has scored two goals in 19 appearances since arriving to Camp Nou. He has played both as a left back and as a central defender for coach Xavi.

He was part of a major overhaul of Barcelona's squad last summer made possible by the club selling some of its future television rights and other assets.

Barcelona said that his buyout clause remained at 50 million euros ($54 million).

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Ajax fires coach Alfred Schreuder after winless streak

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Ajax coach Alfred Schreuder has been fired after only half a season at the Dutch powerhouse following a string of seven matches without a victory for the four-time European champions.

Schreuder, who took over the team when Erik ten Hag left for Manchester United, was sacked after his team could only draw 1-1 with Volendam on Thursday night, with Ajax citing “disappointing results and lack of development within the team.”

“It's a painful but necessary decision,” said club director Edwin van der Sar. “We had faith in Alfred to change things. It became clear to us that he could not turn the tide.”

Defending champion Ajax is fifth in the top flight Eredivisie, seven points behind league leader Feyenoord.

No replacement for Schreuder was immediately announced.

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Vinícius scores, Madrid beats Atletico in extra time in Copa

MADRID (AP) — Vinícius Júnior’s day started with him being the target of an apparent hate crime.

It ended with the Brazil forward scoring a goal to help Real Madrid secure a spot in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey.

Vinicius scored late in extra time to seal a 3-1 come-from-behind win over Atletico Madrid in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

The buildup to the game between the two fierce rivals was marred after a dummy of Vinícius was hanged from a highway bridge early Thursday, along with a banner with the words “Madrid hates Real,” drawing condemnation by both clubs and soccer officials across the nation.

“There is only one Madrid, everyone knows it,” Vinícius said on Twitter after the match.

In another post, he wrote: “Vini LOVES MADRID.”

Vinicius, who was also targeted by racist chants from Atletico supporters earlier this season, put the finishing touch on an intense, back-and-forth match. After the game finished 1-1 in regulation, Karim Benzema had put Madrid ahead in the first half of extra time with his seventh goal in seven matches since the World Cup.

“There wasn’t anything different for Vinícius, he was focused on the match, he wanted to play,” Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said. “What happened was lamentable, but it’s in the past.”

It was a peaceful atmosphere among fans inside the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, and the few hundred Atletico supporters who had tickets for the match celebrated early as Álvaro Morata put their team ahead in the first half. But substitute Rodrygo equalized for the hosts late in the second half to force extra time.

Atletico played most of extra time with 10 men after defender Stefan Savic was sent off with a second yellow card with the game still tied 1-1.

Atletico was trying to beat Madrid away for the first time since 2016.

Madrid is back in the Copa semifinals for the first time since 2018-19, having last won the competition in 2013-14. It was eliminated by Athletic Bilbao in the quarterfinals last season.

Atletico was trying to reach the last four for the first time since 2016-17. Its last Copa title was won in 2012-13 in a final against Madrid.

The Copa was the only title Atletico had a realistic chance of winning his season, as it is in fourth place in the Spanish league and was eliminated from the Champions League and Europa League.

Atlético coach Diego Simeone complained about the refereeing, but said he was proud of how his team competed.

“We gave everything we had,” he said. “We have been making it difficult for Madrid, that makes us proud, the team competed to win.”

Madrid struggled to break through the Atletico defense early on, and the visitors were a constant threat on counterattacks.

Morata, a former Madrid player, put Atletico ahead from close range after a cross from the right by Nahuel Molina in the 19th. Rodrygo equalized with a neat run in the 79th, getting past four Atletico defenders before firing a shot from inside the area past goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

Benzema, who had to leave France's Word Cup squad because of an injury sustained just before the tournament, scored with a low shot from inside the area in the 104th minute, and Vinícius found the net to secure the victory after a breakaway just before the end, with his scoring run starting from near midfield.

Defender David Alaba was back in Madrid’s squad but Aurélien Tchouaméni and Eden Hazard were not available for Ancelotti.

ATHLETIC ADVANCES

Athletic Bilbao reached the semifinals for the fourth straight season with a 3-1 win at Valencia.

Iker Muniain, Nico Williams and Mikel Vesga scored for the Basque Country club, which was runner-up both in 2020 and 2021 and lost to Valencia in last season’s semifinals.

Valencia, which lost last year’s final to Real Betis, has been struggling recently, with only one win in its last five matches in all competitions. The team coached by Gennaro Gattuso had made it 1-1 thanks to an own-goal by Athletic defender Óscar de Marcos.

On Wednesday, Barcelona edged Real Sociedad 1-0 and Osasuna defeated Sevilla 2-1 in extra time to make it to the semifinals for the first time since reaching the final in 2005.

The draw for the semifinals will be on Monday.

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Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

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AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports



Claudio Reyna moved out of Austin sporting director role

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Claudio Reyna was moved out of his leadership role as sporting director of Austin FC on Thursday, the latest job change that followed the Reyna family's spat with U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter.

The 49-year-old Reyna was shifted to a title of technical adviser. The former U.S captain had led the Major League Soccer team since 2019 and through its first two seasons on the field in 2021 and 2022.

Austin head coach Josh Wolff will be the club's chief soccer officer on an interim basis, the team said. Director of player personnel Sean Rubio will be interim sporting director.

Earlier Thursday, the U.S. Soccer Federation said sporting director Earnie Stewart was resigning to take a job with PSV Eindhoven and general manager Brian McBride also was quitting.

Berhalter, whose contract expired Dec. 31, is under investigation by a USSF law firm for a domestic violence incident in 1991, and Anthony Hudson took over as interim coach. The USSF said it expected Hudson to remain in the role until late summer.

Austin club officials declined further comment on Reyna’s job change and whether it was related to the family dispute.

"We’re grateful for Claudio’s contributions to both our club and our community,” Austin majority owner and chief executive officer Anthony Precourt said in a statement. “Claudio has been committed to the cause of building a club that inspires Austin, and he will remain in a position to contribute to our organization.”

Reyna said he's looking forward to "a less all-consuming work pace that still permits me to assist ongoing club development.”

Following the Americans’ round of 16 elimination against the Netherlands at the World Cup on Dec. 3, Berhalter told a management conference in New York he nearly sent a player home from Qatar for lack of hustle in training. The remarks clearly were about 20-year-old Gio Reyna, a son of Claudio Reyna and former women’s player Danielle Egan Reyna.

The Reyna parents complained to Stewart and McBride about their son’s lack of playing time in Qatar, where he was limited to a pair of substitute appearances.

Danielle Reyna notified Stewart of a 1991 incident in which Berhalter kicked a woman who later became his wife, Rosalind Santana Berhalter, who was Danielle’s college roommate. The USSF hired the law firm Alston & Bird to investigate in a probe that is ongoing.

Reyna, Berhalter and Wolff have a long history together.

Reyna and Berhalter were teammates on the U.S. national team and Wolff was an assistant under Berhalter with the national team and Columbus Crew in MLS. Austin signed Berhalter's son, Sebastian, for the 2021 season but the defender was not retained for 2022. He is now with Vancouver.

Claudio Reyna made 112 international appearances from 1994 to 2006 and captained the U.S. at two World Cups. He became sporting director of New York City FC in 2013 and held the role until leaving for Austin in November 2019.

After finishing last in the Western Conference in 2021, Austin advanced to the conference final last season, losing to eventual MLS champion Los Angeles FC.

Gio Reyna, among the top young American players, did not play in the Americans' World Cup opener against Wales in November, then played eight minutes against England. He was held out of the match against Iran, then entered at the start of the second half against the Dutch.

In his first two matches since the World Cup, he scored late winning goals for Borussia Dortmund against Augsburg on Sunday and versus Mainz on Wednesday. During both goal celebrations, he gestured with his hands over his ears in an apparent attempt to say he was tuning out the controversy.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports



Forge FC signs star goalkeeper Triston Henry to new multi-year contract

Forge FC has signed Canadian goalkeeper Triston Henry to a new multi-year deal.

The 29-year-old from Toronto led the Canadian Premier League with 11 shutouts last season and is the league's all-time leader in clean sheets with 33. Henry won the 2020 CPL Golden Glove as the league's top 'keeper.

“Triston has been a rock for us at the back since Day 1," Costa Smyrniotis, Forge's director of football and business, said in a statement. “He is an outstanding goalkeeper with big game experience and performances in both domestic and international competitions."

Henry made 110 total appearances for Forge FC over four seasons from 2019 to 2022, posting 59 wins and 41 shutouts in all competitions. Prior to Forge, the six-foot-one goalkeeper spent three seasons with Sigma FC.

In other CPL news, Cavalry FC moved to keep midfielder Sergio Camargo and forward Joe Mason in the fold.

Camargo signed a two-year extension that covers the 2023 and 2024 seasons. The Calgary club activated its 2023 option for Mason.

One of Cavalry's first-ever signings, Camargo returns for a fifth season with the team. The 28-year-old has 15 goals and seven assists in 69 appearances across all competitions. In 2022, he had two goals and one assist before being sidelined by injury.

Mason, 31, is entering his third season with Cavalry. He is the club’s leading goal-scorer with 16 goals — and two assists — in 38 appearances across all competitions after joining the club in 2021.

The English-born striker scored eight goals and added one assist in 2022 in 22 appearances last season.

“Both Sergio and Joe give us excellent attacking depth and quality,” Cavalry coach and GM Tommy Wheeldon Jr. said in a statement. “At one point or another, they have both led our club in goal -coring and I know that they are eager to add more this coming season. Aside from their quality on the pitch, they are both terrific competitors and great characters in the locker room and within the community.”

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2023



Top Brazilian talents could be European transfer targets

SAO PAULO (AP) — European clubs looking for last-minute deals in the January transfer window could find some future stars among Brazil's current crop of young soccer talents.

The focus on Brazilian players is always big during transfer periods and the spotlight only intensified after Real Madrid's signing of teenage sensation Endrick on a deal reportedly worth nearly 60 million euros ($65.3 million).

Here's a look at some of the other top young players in the Brazilian league, including some who have already drawn the interest of European clubs:

GUILHERME BIRO

The 18-year-old started as a left-back at Corinthians, but his best performances have come as a midfielder — both for the club's academy and the Brazil Under-20 team which is currently playing in the South American championship in Colombia. Biro's Carlos Valderrama-like hairstyle is almost as eye-catching as his through balls and runs. He only played two matches for Corinthians' first team in 2022, but is expected to take on a bigger role this year. He has been linked with Sevilla and Porto, with the Sao Paulo-based Corinthians having set his release clause at 30 million euros ($32.6 million).

MATHEUS FRANÇA

The 18-year-old Flamengo striker was expected to play at the U20 South American championship, but his club wanted to keep him at home. Newcastle has reportedly made three offers for the right-footed forward, which were all rejected by the Rio de Janeiro club. He has played 29 matches for Flamengo and scored seven goals. França can shoot from long range, dribble and is a keen poacher in front of goal. He could struggle for playing time at the defending Copa Libertadores champions, who have several top strikers in their squad.

JEFFINHO

The 23-year-old Botafogo striker was one of the team's main players in the latest edition of the Brazilian championship. He scored five goals and provided seven assists in 42 matches for the Rio de Janeiro club. Jeffinho is a sharp dribbler who plays on the left flank. Coach Luis Castro said in several interviews he wants to keep the striker this year but the club expects to sell him for about 10 million euros ($11 million). Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk reportedly made a smaller offer recently which was rejected.

LUAN CÂNDIDO

The Red Bull Bragantino left-back, who turns 22 on Feb. 1, almost made Brazil's World Cup squad thanks to his strong defending, stamina and sharp crosses. He played in Germany early in his career, but his best performances have come for the Brazilian club. Last year, he scored 13 goals for the team in 50 matches. The left-back struggled with bookings throughout 2022 and said in interviews this year he wants to improve his disciplinary record.

DEIVID

The 17-year-old Santos striker wants to follow in the footsteps of Neymar, one of his idols. Deivid is yet to make his professional debut but has already attracted so much attention in his youth-division matches that the club has set his transfer fee at 18 million euros ($19.6 million). The slender teenager can play on the right and also as a target man. Last year, Deivid was the top goal scorer at the Sao Paulo state U17 championship with 19 goals and finished second in the U17 Brazilian championship with 10 goals.

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Record-chasing Mbappé has Cavani's PSG mark in his sights

PARIS (AP) — Kylian Mbappé can close in further on Paris Saint-Germain's all-time scoring record when his team hosts Reims on Sunday.

Mbappé's tally of 196 goals for PSG means he is only four behind Edinson Cavani's record for the club. Cavani is still idolized by fans, many of whom were angry at the club for letting him leave in 2020.

Mbappé has taken longer to win PSG's supporters over, especially when relations became frosty during the on-off transfer saga with Real Madrid.

But his exploits for France at the World Cup in Qatar increased his popularity all over the country, and since returning he's been applauded at every away ground — although that might not be the case when PSG visits bitter rival Marseille twice next month.

The World Cup's top scorer is in clinical form heading into Saturday's match at Parc des Princes after netting five goals in a French Cup win on Monday, albeit against an amateur side.

Mbappé's attitude in that game stood out along with his crisp finishing. He took the match very seriously and spoke of his respect for the non-league teams afterward.

“It’s a reminder for us that we all come from amateur football and it’s important to keep this link,” he said. "Even if it’s only for one game.”

Neymar has been largely anonymous for PSG since his World Cup heartbreak with Brazil, so PSG coach Christophe Galtier needs Mbappé to maintain his form.

“Kylian is among the greatest strikers, the world class strikers. He's one of the best,” Galtier said. “He's conditioned to score. That's Kylian, a man of statistics and numbers. I don't even need to encourage for him to break records.”

He is the league's top scorer with 13 goals this season, one more than Lorient's Terem Moffi and Lille's Jonathan David, and it's only a matter of time before Cavani's record tumbles.

In far quicker time, too.

While Cavani notched his 200 goals in 301 games, Mbappé has taken just 241 matches to reach 196.

While his best season's haul of 42 goals overall is less than Cavani's best total of 49, Mbappé is already on 25 goals in 24 games so far in this campaign.

With half of the league campaign still to play, he could realistically hit 50 if PSG goes far in the Champions League and the French Cup.

That might be tough, however, since PSG faces Bayern Munich in the round of 16 and is away to Marseille in the cup's last 16.

A hectic schedule sees PSG playing seven games next month, including a league game at third-place Marseille that promises to be intense, and eight if it reaches the cup quarterfinals.

Mid-table Reims is a hard team to beat, too, and is on an 11-match unbeaten run which includes holding PSG to a 0-0 draw at home in October.

PSG's away form has been a concern recently, with consecutive defeats at Lens and Rennes allowing second-place Lens to close the gap to three points after 19 rounds.

So PSG needs a morale-boosting home win to get its confidence back, and help Mbappé close the gap on Cavani.

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Canadian Premier League unveils new look ahead of fifth season kickoff

TORONTO — The Canadian Premier League is offering up a new look as it heads into its fifth season.

On Thursday, the Canadian men's league today unveiled a new logo ahead of its 2023 schedule release.

The CPL says the five-year anniversary logo is inspired by "the pentagon shape associated with classic soccer balls" and "pulls elements from the emblem that has become synonymous with the Canadian Premier League over the first four years of its history, through a consistent colourway of pitch green, night sky blue and ocean blue." 

The league is scheduled to announce Friday the matchups for the opening weekend of the regular season with the full schedule slated for release Monday.

The new logo will be used in conjunction with the league’s original emblem over the course of its fifth season.

“Reaching the five-year mark for any professional sports league is an important milestone to acknowledge as it recognizes the hard work of all our stakeholders, especially the supporters who understand the vital importance of having a strong Canadian domestic league," commissioner Mark Noonan said in a statement.

"While taking a moment to celebrate this achievement, we understand our journey is just getting started and much work remains to achieve our dreams as a league and sport.”

The CPL will feature eight teams in 2023, the same number as last season. Expansion Vancouver FC fills the void left by now-defunct FC Edmonton.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2023.



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