Duo adapting to life in the MLS
Former Sunderland duo Vito Mannone and Justin Hoyte have both moved Stateside as they look for new experiences at this stage of their careers.
Mannone joined Minnesota United, initially on loan, and the Italian is already loving life in America. Telling the Star Tribune that he is enjoying the new culture and explains how the MLS differs from the Premier League:
It’s getting better, the weather, and the snow is leaving us, it’s a lovely place, I can tell you, A fantastic place to be.
It’s a different style of game, English football is very frantic. The rhythm is really high and you have to be on your toes every time because it happens so fast. Here, it is a mix of the two. You have physicality, different cultures, different players, different techniques. Premier probably is faster, a lot more demanding physically.
It’s nice to live a different culture, live the American life, it’s obviously an experience I wanted to do. It’s a fresh experience, a new thing. It’s definitely a change from what I’ve been used to the last 10, 15 years. I’m always very passionate about new things and new adventures and this is one of them.
Hoyte meanwhile is on the books of new MLS franchise FC Cincinnati. He originally joined the club when they were a member of the United Soccer League and is excited about having a career in the MLS after a short spell without a club after leaving Dagenham & Redbridge in 2016:
I am going into my third year now with the team, so it’s been great, it’s been a good challenge.
It’s something that I have wanted to do for a long time, and I am enjoying playing again and getting the love back for the game.
I am really excited, it has been a goal of mine for a long time.
I have always wanted to come out to America, watching the games on the TV, and just have friends in the Major League Soccer.
Also being back to playing at a top level in a top league, their equivalent of the Premier League, so it’s that ambition to carry on and see how long I can play at that top level against top players again.
Coates set to move on
Former Sunderland defender Sebastian Coates has had a good career with Sporting since moving to Portugal from the North East back in 2016 - initially on loan before signing a permanent deal with the club.
It looks as if his Sporting spell will come to a close at the end of the season, as the club are looking to cut costs according to O Jogo and are looking to get around €20m for the 26-year-old.
Sunderland sold the central defender for £4.25m but it is not thought that a sell-on clause was included in the deal for the Uruguayan international.
Thornley on Roker Park red card
Back in 1996, Sunderland beat Huddersfield Town 3-2 at Roker Park thanks to two late goals by a 17-year-old Michael Bridges. That win was helped by the Terriers on-loan Manchester United winger Ben Thornley being sent off on the stroke of half-time for throwing the ball at the referee in frustration.
On the most recent edition of the Undr the Cosh Podcast, Thornley said he had become frustrated due to the rough treatment he had received at the hands of Sunderland’s Polish full-back Dariusz Kubicki:
We played up at Sunderland and we had fallen away a little bit but Sunderland were doing really well. It was just at the time Bridgey was emerging - Michael Bridges - we were 1-1 at half-time and we were playing really well.
I had been kicked to buggery off Dariusz Kubicki, he kicked me to buggery, honestly.
I was getting no protection whatsoever and the referee at the time was Neale Barry, he was a little Hitler as well he was.
Anyway, I’d already been booked for overreacting to being kicked for the umpteenth time. Just before the half-time whistle went, I skipped past Kubicki and he f*cking shoved me right up in the air and the ball had ricocheted off somebody, the ball had gone in the air as well and I just happened to get to my feet when the ball landed in my hands and he blew the half-time whistle.
Out of nowhere, a mist of red came over me and as he held his arms out for me to throw the ball to him, I just f*cking launched it straight into his face. He was that incensed that he couldn’t get it [the red card] out quick enough.
Although 10-man Huddersfield went two-one up just before the hour mark through Andy Booth, Bridges came on and scored both the equaliser and winner, leaving Thornley to face the wrath of Town boss Brian Horton:
I made my way up into the stands, I’m looking at my watch and without about eight minutes to go they brought Michael Bridges on, he scored twice. He scored twice in the last 10 minutes.
We got back down to the dressing rooms and he [Horton] went round [giving his post-match team talk] and he says ‘forget what I just said to you’ - I am sitting in the corner like that [with my head down] - ‘and you can blame that f*cking kn*bhead over there!’. ‘Every single one of you, look at that di*khead sitting in the corner, it’s his f*cking fault!’.
You can watch the highlights of that particular game below, as well as catching the rest of the Undr The Cosh podcat in the YouTube video.