Soccer By Ives Archives for January 2012

Red Bulls Notebook: Conde out 2-to-3 weeks, Rodgers trains with Villa & more

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By DAVE MARTINEZ

Wilman Conde is likely to miss the New York Red Bulls' season opener, according to coach Hans Backe.Â

The Colombian defender, who just made his return to action after nearly an 11-month absence from the game, limped off the field Wednesday night in the midst of New York's 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy in the Desert Diamond Cup.

Whitecaps waive Nguyen

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It's MLS roster compliance day, and there has already been one surprising development ahead of the 5 p.m. deadline.

The Vancouver Whitecaps waived one-time U.S. international Lee Nguyen, a player acquired through the league's weighted lottery process less than three months ago after returning to the United States following career stops in Europe and Vietnam.

A look back at U.S. Soccer's landmark day

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Photo by Bernd Feil/ISIphotos.com

Three wins, eight goals, none conceded and plenty to build off across three levels of U.S. Soccer.

It's safe to say that Feb. 29, 2012, went about as well as it could have if you're a U.S. Soccer player or fan.

The U.S.

SBI MLS Season Preview: Columbus Crew

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 Photo by David Bernal/ISIphotos.com

By THOMAS FLOYD

Riddled by inconsistency, the Columbus Crew attack just never seemed to quite find the right rhythm in 2011.

Up front, Emilio Renteria's injury concerns and Andres Mendoza's erratic play limited Columbus' front-line cohesion.

SBI MLS Season Preview: Montreal Impact

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Building from the ground up in MLS is no easy task, but if anyone knows something about a successful expansion season, it's Montreal Impact head coach Jesse Marsch.

A member of the D.C. United club that won the first MLS Cup and a member of the Chicago Fire club that won MLS Cup in its expansion season, Marsch embarks on his first head coaching gig with the Impact, who made the leap from NASL to MLS and have created quite a buzz north of the border.

Mid-Day Ticker: Portsmouth may not end season, Fowler on Blackpool trial & more

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 Photo by Kieran McManus/ISIphotos.com

By THOMAS FLOYD

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Less than four years after winning the F.A. Cup, Portsmouth is in danger of not completing this Championship season, administrator Trevor Birch said.

International Rewind: Messi nets hat trick, Colombia blanks Mexico and more

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These days it's rare for Lionel Messi to accomplish something he has yet to already do, but he was able to cross another item off his career bucket list on Wednesday.

The Barcelona catalyst and reigning Ballon d'Or winner scored his first career hat trick for his country, tallying all of Argentina's goals -- including two late ones -- in a 3-1 victory over Switzerland in Bern.

MLS Preseason Recap: Red Bulls top Galaxy; Revs, 'Caps stay unbeaten & more

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By CALEB SONNELAND

Goals from Kenny Cooper and Thierry Henry lifted the New York Red Bulls over the Los Angeles Galaxy Wednesday night in a 2-1 win, but it wasn't enough to see the team into the final of the Desert Diamond Cup, as the Galaxy marched to the title game by virtue of goal difference.

U.S. U-23s 2, Mexico 0: Match Highlights

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Thursday Kickoff: Guzan offered new deal, Bahrain under investigation & more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Brad Guzan has a decision to make.

The U.S. national team and Aston Villa backup goalkeeper has been offered a contract extension by the English club, but a lack of playing time behind Shay Given could encourage him to move elsewhere. Villa manager Alex McLeish was impressed with Guzan during his seven Premier League starts earlier in the year, when Given was injured.

USA U23s cruise to 2-0 win over Mexico

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By FRANCO PANIZO

With both the U.S. men's national team and U.S. women's national team claimed shutout wins, U.S. Soccer just needed a victory from Caleb Porter's Under-23 side to enjoy a dream leap year day.

Porter's team got that win and it did so in convincing fashion against a formidable foe.

Italy 0, USA 1: Match Highlights

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U.S. Under-23s vs. Mexico: Match Night Commentary

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The U.S. Men's Under-23 national team will play its finaly exhibition match before Olympic Qualifying kicks off in a month in Nashville with a match agianst arch-rival Mexico in Frisco, Texas tonight (10pm, Telefutura).

 Head coach Caleb Porter will be trotting out a strong team against Mexico tonight, with Bill Hamid and Juan Agudelo leading a squad that will make up most of the team that will take part in CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying in Nashville and Kansas City.

Who was your Man of the Match vs. Italy?

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photo by Bernd Feil/ISIphotos.com

The U.S. men's national team earned a historic result on Wednesday, defeating Italy for the first time in 11 tries.

The 1-0 result in Genoa was a hard-earned one for U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and his team, but one in which a handful of American players delivered strong performances en route to Klinsmann's fourth consecutive victory and second on European soil.

USA beats Italy for first time

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The U.S. men's national team entered its match against Italy having never beaten the Azzurri, going 0-7-3 in games dating back to 1934.

That winless streak ended on Wednesday.

The Americans defeated Italy, 1-0, for the first time off a second-half goal from Clint Dempsey. The goal came in the 55th minute when Jozy Altidore brought down a cross from left back Fabian Johnson and layed it off to Dempsey, who hit a low shot past Gianluigi Buffon for his 25th international goal.

Soccer Wednesday: Your Running Commentary

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It is a busy Wednesday in the international soccer world, as key friendlies across the globe give soccer fans plenty of great viewing options.

While we're sure you will be glued to the USA-Italy match this afternoon, there is plenty more to watch today. England-Netherlands is the showcase international in Europe, though Germany-France is probably the better match.

USA vs. Italy: Match Day Commentary

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The U.S. Men's national team takes on Italy today in Genoa in what will arguably be the toughest test the United States has faced since Jurgen Klinsmann took over as head coach six months ago (2:30pm, ESPN2).

The Americans come into the match short-handed, but will still feature several top players, including Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and Michael Bradley.

Reyna, Meola voted into National Soccer Hall of Fame

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U.S. national team legends Claudio Reyna and Tony Meola were the easiest selections in the latest ballot for the National Soccer Hall of Fame, and voters agreed, making them the headliners in the Hall's Class of 2012.

Reyna received 96 percent of the voting and Meola received 90 percent of the voting to headline a class that also includes former U.

Mid-Day Ticker: Qatar advances in WC qualifying, Folan signs for Birmingham and more

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Qatar advanced to the final round of World Cup qualifying while Saudi Arabia and Bahrain were eliminated in a wild day of matches across the Asian continent.

The 2022 World Cup hosts, currently ranked 96th in the world, scored a late goal to draw 2-2 with Iran. The draw moved Qatar into second place in Group E at the expense of Bahrain.

USA vs. Italy: The Pre-Game Tailgate

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The U.S. men's national team takes on Italy today in Genoa in the first major match of 2012 for Jurgen Klinsmann's squad (2:30pm, ESPN2).

The Americans come in with an injury-depleted lineup, but should still provide a good test for an Italy side also missing some key players.

SBI MLS Season Preview: New England Revolution

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Photo by Andrew Katsampes/ISIphotos.com

Change is abound in New England.Â

A new coach, a new system and a boatload of new players have been put in place to turn around the once-proud franchise that has fallen on hard times. The Revolution have missed the playoffs in each of the last two years and finished dead last in the Eastern Conference while tying for the second-worst goal differential in all of MLS last season.

MLS Pre-Season: FC Dallas rolls and TFC cruises at Disney Classic

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David Ferreira recorded a goal and assist to lead FC Dallas to a 4-0 romp over a ten-man Orlando City side in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic on Tuesday.

A fourth-minute red card to Orlando City goalkeeper Sean Kelley forced the home team to play a man down for most of the night and FC Dallas took full advantage, with four different players scoring goals.

Studio 90: USA prepares for Italy

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Juninho feeling right at home with Galaxy after brief return to Sao Paulo

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By ADAM SERRANO

CARSON, Calif. -- A stellar offseason for the Los Angeles Galaxy got even better when Juninho rejoined the defending MLS Cup champions on a year-long loan from São Paulo. But while Juninho is all smiles about coming back to America, the midfielder still has one eye on an eventual return to Brazil to compete for a place at his childhood club.

Brazil 2, Bosnia & Herzegovina 1: Match Highlights

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U.S. Soccer Wednesday: A Look Ahead

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Wednesday is most notable in U.S. Soccer circles because of the men's national team's friendly in Italy, but teams on three of the federation's other levels will be in action as well.

The women's national team kicks off its quest for a third consecutive Algarve Cup championship in Portugal, the U-23 men's team faces Mexico in the final friendly leading into next month's CONCACAF Olympic qualifying and the U-20 men's team faces the Montreal Impact reserve as Tab Ramos continues guiding his current camp down in Florida.

Mid-Day Ticker: Henley gets Wales U-21 call-up, Tevez plays for reserves & more

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Another U.S.-eligible left back is testing the waters for another country.

Blackburn defender Adam Henley, 17, will represent Wales in its Under-21 European championship qualifier against Andorra on Wednesday, marking the second youth international with U.S. eligibility to accept a call-up for another country in the last few weeks.

Is this the new USMNT away jersey?

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There have been a few new U.S. men's national team jersey leaks making their way around the internet on various online shopping sites, but there has been one in particular that carries some legitimate weight.

The jersey pictured above was listed on the online shop for Nike, the official outfitter of the national team, as the new U.

MLS Notes: Nyarko gets Ghana call-up, Wenger used at forward and more

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Photo by Tracy Allen/ISIphotos.com

Dominic Oduro won't be the only member of the Chicago Fire getting his first taste of international soccer in Wednesday's Ghana-Chile friendly at PPL Park.

Patrick Nyarko has been called in as a late addition to Ghana's roster, marking his first call-up on the international level.

MLS sanctions Dynamo supporters

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Houston Dynamo supporters crossed the line on the road a few times last season, and as a result, their privileges have been limited by MLS heading into the 2012 campaign.Â

In a letter written by the league to Dynamo supporters groups, the club's fans have been sanctioned and restricted for breaching the Fan Code of Conduct during three occasions last season during road games.

Studio 90: U.S. U-23s prepare for Mexico

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Tuesday Kickoff: UEFA agrees to cut fixture dates, Gomez set to start and more

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European clubs and UEFA have come to an agreement that would alter the international calendar significantly.

Under the new agreement, which has yet to be approved by FIFA, the number of international matches would be reduced from 12 a year to an average of nine per year over the course of a two-year period.

Timbers tie Earthquakes in pre-season

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A Hanyar Mosquera own goal proved to be the equalizer in Monday's 1-1 draw between the Portland Timbers and San Jose Earthquakes in MLS pre-season action at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland.

Both Western Conference sides trotted out strong starting lineups in a tightly-contested match.

MLS Notes: DC United signs Dykstra, Impact waive Westlake, and more

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DC United could find itself without goalkeeper Bill Hamid quite a bit in 2012 as the U.S. national team netminder and potential Olympian stands poised to have a busy year. With that in mind, DC added a veteran goalkeeper to help provide some cover.

DC signed former Chicago Fire goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra on Monday.

Egypt thrashes Kenya in first international since Port Said disaster

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Egyptian soccer received some much-needed good news this afternoon as manager Bob Bradley led The Pharaohs to a 5-0 victory against Kenya, Bradley's first victory in charge of Egypt.

Monday's match was the first game against a senior international side since the tragic death of 74 fans in Port Said earlier this month.

Mid-Day Ticker: PSG open to Beckham move, Diarra joins Fulham and more

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The David Beckham to Paris Saint-Germain rumors are back.

PSG sporting director Leonardo said despite Beckham's rejection of the wealthy club "the door is still open" to signing the English midfielder. Beckham, 36, cited family considerations as a major factor in his decision to stay in LA and re-sign with the Galaxy.

Who should the USMNT start vs. Italy?

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A rash of injuries and illness have left U.S. men's national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann with a weakened roster ahead of Wednesday's match against Italy, making his decisions on a starting lineup that much tougher.

The loss of Landon Donovan, Timmy Chandler and Jose Torres, coming on the heels of losing Oguchi Onyewu has left Klinsmann with a group that won't quite look like the nearly full-strength side he looked like he would have available in Genoa on Wednesday.

MLS Preseason Rewind: DC United tops Chicago, Le Toux nets winner, and more

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By CALEB SONNELAND

The 8th annual Carolina Challenge Cup is underway in Charleston, South Carolina.

DC United notched the only win of the weekend with a 1-0 result over the Chicago Fire while hosts Charleston Battery salvaged a late draw with the Columbus Crew last Saturday.

European Rewind: Liverpool win Carling Cup, Juve ties Milan, and more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

One wouldn't expect one of the games of the season to come out of the Carling Cup but that's exactly what happened when Liverpool edged Cardiff City via penalties in a thrilling final at Wembley.

Liverpool seemed to have dispatched the Championship side when Dirk Kuyt scored a wonderful goal in the 108th minute but Cardiff refused to give up.

Kljestan and Shea replace Donovan, Torres and Chandler on USA roster

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Sacha Kljestan and Brek Shea have been called in as emergency replacements for the U.S. men's national team after a rash of injuries and illness hit the roster originally called in by Jurgen Klinsmann.

Landon Donovan (bronchitis), Timmy Chandler and Jose Torres (both injured) will miss Wednesday's friendly against Italy, and have been replaced by Kljestan and Shea.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Days after his head coach cited a lack of progress as a reason for his benching, Jozy Altidore responded in a big way.

In his first start for AZ Alkmaar in 2012, Altidore bagged a brace in the club's 3-3 draw with Heerenveen. Altidore scored the game's opener when he received the ball with his back to goal, turned and fired a shot to the near post.

Must-See Goal: Cristiano Ronaldo

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Real Madrid was able to hold off a feisty challenge from Rayo Vallecano on Sunday, and did so in large part to the clever goal from Cristiano Ronaldo, who converted a long-range back-heel to give Madrid a vital 1-0 road victory.

The victory helped keep Real Madrid ten points clear of Barcelona and keep Cristiano Ronaldo neck and neck with Lionel Messi for Spanish Primera Player of the Year honors.

Italy names roster for USA friendly

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Veteran playmaker Andrea Pirlo, legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and red-hot Juventus teammate Alessandro Matri headline the 23-man squad chosen by Italy to face the U.S. Men's National Team on Wednesday in Genoa.

Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli was left off the squad by Italy manager Cesar Prandelli, who still questions the star forward's maturity.

Must-See Goal: Lionel Messi

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Barcelona was ten minutes away from dropping more precious points and making catching Real Madrid atop the Spanish Primera title even more impossible. Then Lionel Messi stepped up to save his team yet again.

The Argentine wizard delivered this perfect left-footed free kick to help Barcelona post a 2-1 victory over Atletico Madrid on Sunday.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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More than bragging rights in North London will be on the line at the Emirates today when Arsenal takes on Tottenham. For the Gunners, holding on to their precious top four place in the English Premier League standings will be at stake, while  Tottenham will be trying to solidify their hold on third place.

Torres injured, looks doubtful for Italy friendly

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U.S. national team midfielder Jose Torres has been out of U.S. national team action for months due to injury, but he was set to return to the fold against Italy next week. At least he was before suffering an injury on Saturday night that appears to have put his national team hopes on hold yet again.

MLS Notes: Vancouver shuts out Montreal, Colorado signs Zapata, and more

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By JOEY SAMUEL

In January, the Montreal Impact chose Andrew Wenger over Darren Mattocks for with the first pick in the MLS SuperDraft. On Friday night, Mattocks showed the Impact why they made have made a mistake.

Playing up top alongside the likes of Eric Hassli and Sebastien Le Toux, Mattocks scored the second goal of a 3-0 rout as the Vancouver Whitecaps defeated Montreal in one of two matches Friday night at the Disney Pro Soccer Classic in Orlando, Fla.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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AC Milan is in first place in Serie A at the moment, but unbeaten Juventus can retake control of the Scudetto race with a win today when the squads clash in Milan in the day's top match-up.

Milan is the home team today, but will face a tough task against a Juve side that has yet to lose a match all year.

Duka, Shea and Agudelo lead U-23s past San Antonio

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After a scoreless first half on Friday night, the U.S. Under-23 national team looked like it would be shut down by the San Antonio Scorpions. Things changed dramatically in the second half, as Dilly Duka, Juan Agudelo and Brek Shea helped lead the U-23s to a 3-0 romp.

Duka set up the opening goal and scored his own on a solo run to help the U-23s jump out to a 2-0 lead.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV & SBI's Top Ten Matches to Watch

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North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham renew old acquaintances at the Emirates in the weekend's marquee match-up.

Arsene Wenger and the Gunners badly need a victory against their arch-rivals to keep their hold on fourth place in the Premier League, while Tottenham can solidify their hold on third place with a result on the road.

Rodgers' visa status still up in the air

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By DAVE MARTINEZ

The New York Red Bulls could get word of Luke Rodgers' visa status in early March, but the situation is far from clear cut. Speaking to the press from Red Bulls' preseason training camp in Arizona, team General Manager Erik Soler shed some light on the progress of his English striker's permit renewal.

MLS Pre-Season: A Look Ahead

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 Photo by David Bernal/ISIphotos.com

By THOMAS FLOYD

It may only be a preseason tournament, but come Saturday the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Ariz., is still serving up two of the stronger rivalries in MLS.

The Los Angeles Galaxy and Real Salt Lake will face off in a rematch of last year's Western Conference final at 8 p.

Mid-Day Ticker: Bellamy fit for Carling Cup, Arshavin loaned out and more

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 Photo by Joe Toth/ISIphotos.com

By THOMAS FLOYD

Despite some concern earlier this week, it turns out Liverpool will have the full services of forward Craig Bellamy at its disposal Sunday in the Carling Cup final against Cardiff City.

Bellamy, who leads Liverpool this season with six Premier League goals, missed last weekend's F.

Ponce, Fabian highlight Mexico U-23 roster for U.S. friendly

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Miguel Angel Ponce and Marco Fabian are among the 20 players called in by Mexico Under-23 coach Luis Fernando Tena for Wednesday's friendly against the United States U-23 national team at FC Dallas Stadium.

Ponce, a Mexican-American left back, and Fabian, his club teammate and a star attacker for Chivas de Guadalajara, highlight the roster, which does not include Olympic-eligible players such as Giovani dos Santos, Jonathan dos Santos or Carlos Vela.

MLS Notes: Red Bulls tie Pumas, Ekpo signs in Norway and more

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While it was Thierry Henry's return that drew most of the attention during the New York Red Bulls' friendly against Mexican club Pumas UNAM, it was unheralded rookie Ryan Meara's play in goal that emerged as a talking point.

With a two-man race underway for the Red Bulls' starting goalkeeper job, Meara stood tall in the face pressure from the top-flight Mexican opposition and made a number of top-notch saves to post a clean sheet in the 0-0 draw at Chase Field Thursday night.

European Look Ahead: Milan, Juve battle in Serie A, Reds eye silverware and more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Two Serie A powers are set for what is perhaps the most important weekend of the season.

Juventus and AC Milan have been steadily pulling away from the rest of the pack over the past two months and finally face each other for the second time this season Saturday afternoon, with the winner grabbing the edge in the race for the Scudetto.

Friday Kickoff: Cruyff joins Guadalajara, Wambach named co-captain and more

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Johan Cruyff is bringing his expertise to Mexico.

The Dutch legend will join Chivas de Guadalajara as an advisor this weekend in an effort to change the fortunes of the renowned Mexican club. Chivas has fallen on hard times, failing to win in their last 13 matches across all competitions and most recently getting blown out by Velez Sarsfield in the Copa Libertadores group stage on Wednesday.

Red Bulls vs. UNAM Pumas: Match Night Commentary

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The New York Red Bulls continue their pre-season in Aironza tonight, when they take on reigning Mexican champions UNAM Pumas at Chase Field in Phoenix (10pm, MSG+, ESPN Deportes).

The Red Bulls welcome back Thierry Henry from his loan spell at Arsenal, and will be fielding a strong squad against a Mexican team that should provide their toughest test of the pre-season.

Europa League Rewind: Manchester clubs advance, three Americans reach Round of 16

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BY DAVID GUBALA

The Europa League crown now lies amongst one of sixteen teams left in the competition after a quite decisive round of 32. The two Manchester clubs still remain in the tournament, although they reached the next round in very different manners.

Fire Notebook: Klopas discusses roster, Oduro earns Ghana call, and more

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BY DAVID GUBALA

The Chicago Fire entered their third and final phase of preseason on Tuesday when they traveled to Charleston, S.C. to partake in the annual Carolina Challenge Cup.

With less than a month until their season opener, the Fire still have plenty of unaswered questions about the squad.

Americans Abroad: A Look Ahead

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Timmy Chandler's future with Nurnberg may be up in the air, but the American is still likely to be relied upon by the club this weekend.

Even with Nurnberg handing him an ultimatum earlier this week, Chandler is likely to be in the club's lineup for its match against Werder Bremen on Saturday.

Report: AZ coach cites lack of progress for Altidore's benching

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If you have been wondering why Jozy Altidore has been relegated to the bench for AZ Alkmaar, it looks you now have an answer.

According to a report from the Netherlands, AZ manager Gertjan Verbeek has preferred to start Charlison Benschop over Altidore in recent weeks due to Altidore's lack of progress.

Must-See Video: No Holden Back

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Europa League: Your Running Commentary

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The 16 teams that will advance to the next round of the Europa League will be finalized on Thursday afternoon, meaning there should be plenty of quality matches for soccer fans to see as teams face do-or-die situations.

Some of the day's games are already underway, but perhaps the biggest one to American fans takes place later in the afternoon when Sacha Kljestan and Jozy Altidore's clubs clash for a spot in the next round.

Must-See Goal: Feilhaber's bicycle

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Mid-Day Ticker: Amalfitano earns France call-up, Giggs nears milestone and more

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By THOMAS FLOYD

It would appear Morgan Amalfitano has caught Laurent Blanc's attention at the most opportune of times.

Blanc called up the 26-year-old Olympique Marseille midfielder for the first time Thursday, naming him to France's roster ahead of a friendly Wednesday against Germany in Bremen.

Garber touches on expansion, schedule and more in latest State of the League address

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photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

With the 17th season in MLS history just weeks away from kicking off, commissioner Don Garber held his latest State of the League address in Columbus, Ohio to discuss some of the hotter topics.

Accompanied by Columbus Crew owner Clark Hunt and Crew president and general manager Mark McCullers, Garber touched on everything from the Crew's season ticket sales to the league's schedule.

Klinsmann calls in 21 players for Italy friendly

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photo by Chris Brunskill/ISIphotos.com

Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Carlos Bocanegra and Tim Howard headline a 21-man roster called in by U.S. men's national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann for a friendly against Italy.

A heavily European-based roster was called in for the match on March 29 in Genora, with only five players plying their trade elsewhere.

USA U-23s 2, FC Dallas 1: Match Highlights

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Thursday kickoff: Benitez nixes Chelsea link, Tevez back in two weeks and more

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As Chelsea's season turned from bad to worse in Naples on Tuesday, the rumor mill kicked into high-gear with whisperings manager Andres Villas-Boas could be on his way out.

The name that rose quickly to the top was former Liverpool and Inter Milan manager Rafael Benitez. The manager's agent, Manuel García Quilón, has denied reports that his client has been contacted by the West London club.

Earthquakes get final approval for soccer-specific stadium

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photo by Michael Pimentel/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

It may have taken longer than they would have liked, but the San Jose Earthquakes will finally be getting a soccer-specific stadium to call their own.

At a public hearing inside a packed San Jose City Hall's council chamber late on Wednesday night, the San Jose Planning Commission voted 6-0 to deny an appeal against the construction of a soccer-specific stadium.

Desert Diamond Cup: Your Running Commentary

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The MLS preseason heats up this week, as the Desert Diamond Cup is just one of the tournaments that gets underway.Â

The four MLS teams down in Tucson, Ariz., are all in action Wednesday night, with the defending MLS Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy taking on the New England Revolution and Real Salt Lake facing the New York Red Bulls.

UCL Rewind: Basel, Marseille score late to stun Bayern Munich, Inter Milan

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Late goals were on display yet again as a pair of stubborn underdogs put a couple of European giants in shaky standing in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.

Bayern Munich provided most of the pressure but were fairly inept in front of goal and were punished in the closing stages against FC Basel, surrendering a late goal in a 1-0 loss in their first leg in Switzerland.

Shea scores winner, gets sent off as U.S. U-23s top FC Dallas in scrimmage

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Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

Brek Shea had himself an interesting day at the office on Wednesday.

Playing against his own club, Shea drew a first-half penalty, scored the game-winning goal and was sent off as the nine-man U.S. Under-23 national team held on to defeat FC Dallas, 2-1, in a scrimmage in Frisco, Texas.

Must-See Advice: Aurelien Collin

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Mid-Day Ticker: Portsmouth in trouble, FIFA wants more handshakes and more

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All is far from well at Fratton Park.

League championship side Portsmouth has reportedly asked players and employees to hold off on collecting their salaries, after the club's administrator warned that it could run out of money within two months.

The club entered administration for the second time since 2010 last week, and the club's administrator, Trevor Birch, believes the tactic is necessary for the team to remain in business.

Okugo, Johnson talk U.S. U-23 camp

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Clark signs loan deal with Stabaek

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Photo by John Todd/ISIphotos.com

At long last, it appears that Ricardo Clark has an opportunity for consistent playing time.

Clark's parent club Eintracht Frankurt and Norwegian club Stabaek agreed to terms on a deal that will have the U.S. national team midfielder on loan until July 31.

Soccer Wednesday: Your Running Commentary

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The UEFA Champions League knockout stage continues, with the finalists from the 2010 tournament looking to secure road results in the first legs of their Round of 16 ties.

The 2010 champions, Inter Milan, are stuck in a dreadful run of form, not having won in their last six matches (0-5-1 in that time).

Williams gets new deal with Union

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The Philadelphia Union have taken another step in their commitment to locking up their young nucleus for years to come.

Defender Sheanon Williams was rewarded with a new contract on Wednesday, extending his time in Philadelphia as he enters his second full season with the club.

Red Bulls Notebook: Third goalkeeper situation in flux, Henry returns and more

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By DAVE MARTINEZ

The New York Red Bulls goalkeeping situation continues to be a major point of emphasis as the preseason forges on.

Amongst the guest players joining the club in Arizona are Ray Burse and Phillip Tuttle, two netminders expected to push Ryan Meara and Jeremy Vuolo while vying for a place on the club's roster.

CSKA Moscow 1, Real Madrid 1: Match Highlights

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Wednesday Kickoff: Lletget added to U.S. U-23 roster, Tevez apologizes and more

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Sebastian Lletget is healthy enough to join the U.S. Under-23 national team after all.

Lletget was called into U-23 camp by coach Caleb Porter after initially being left off the roster, which was released last week. Sources had told SBI that Lletget was recovering from a broken nose and a concussion, with the latter keeping him out of action.

Napoli 3, Chelsea 1: Match Highlights

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Garber to talk expansion with Orlando officials, still eyes New York for 20th team

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USL Pro side Orlando City SC's aggressive push for an MLS expansion team continues to catch the attention of MLS commissioner Don Garber. Â Â

Garber will be meeting with Orlando City owners, and city and county mayors on March 1 for exploratory talks about potential expansion.

UCL Rewind: Napoli push Chelsea to brink, Madrid stunned with draw & more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

England is in danger of having no teams in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 1995-96 after Chelsea were defeated by Napoli 3-1 in the first leg of the Round of 16.

Juan Mata's fortuitous goal midway through the first half was cancelled out by Ezequiel Lavezzi's brace and Edinson Cavani's goal just before halftime.

MLS Notes: Union sign five, Sebrango catches on with Montreal and more

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The Philadelphia Union were busy filling out their roster on Tuesday.

The Union signed five players -- 2012 MLS SuperDraft picks Greg Jordan and Ray Gaddis, Supplemental Draft picks Antoine Hoppenot and Krystian Witkowski and journeyman backup goalkeeper Chase Harrison -- bringing the number of players on the senior roster to 25 while providing depth at a number of positions.

Onyewu needs knee surgery, out two months

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Oguchi Onyewu's comeback season with Sporting Lisbon has encountered a massive setback.

Onyewu suffered a torn ligament and meniscus in his right knee and requires surgery that will keep him out of action for two months, according to Sporting Lisbon's official website.

Onyewu suffered the injury in Sporting's victory over Pacos de Ferreira over the weekend, needing to be substituted off after 27 minutes.

Mid-Day Ticker: Chandler's club decision, Terry needs knee surgery and more

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Timmy Chandler has a month to make up his mind.

That's what FC Nurnberg is reportedly telling the U.S. international fullback, who has been heavily courted by fellow Bundesliga outfit VfB Stuttgart and could secure a transfer there this summer.

UEFA Champions League: Your Running Commentary

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Aside from troubles against Spanish nemesis Barcelona, Real Madrid is arguably in the greatest form of any club around the world. Jose Mourinho's men have not dropped points against a non-Barcelona team since Sept. 21, marking a span of 27 straight wins over non-Barcelona opposition.

Cherundolo nearing automatic contract extension with Hannover

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U.S. starting right back Steve Cherundolo is nearing a special milestone this season that will guarantee his place for another year at the only club he has called home during his standout professional career.

According to reports out of Germany, Cherundolo will have his contract automatically extended for another season upon his next appearance of 45 minutes or more.

Reports: Clark on trial with Stabaek

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Ricardo Clark's stay in club purgatory could be nearing its end.

According to reports out of Norway, Clark is on trial with Stabaek IF -- the parent club of current U.S. Under-23 and KAA Gent midfielder MIkkel Diskerud -- with an eye on a loan deal that would afford him much-needed playing time once the Norwegian season begins in a month.

Tuesday Kickoff: Terry doubtful for Blues, Italy releasing roster Sunday and more

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The pressure is on Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas in the UEFA Champions League, not only for him to try and salvage his own job security, but also to keep England's hopes at crowning a European winner alive.

It appears that he'll be a bit shorthanded in the first stage of his quest to get the Blues to the UCL quarterfinals, though.

UEFA Champions League Preview: Chelsea, Real Madrid face tough road games

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If Real Madrid and Chelsea are to end Champions League heartbreak this season, getting off to a good start in difficult environments is crucial.

Real Madrid travel east to face off with CSKA Moscow in freezing temperatures. Jose Mourinho's men have been dominant in the Champions League this season but the weather combined with Moscow's infamous plastic pitch and a few key injuries makes the result far from predetermined.

De Rosario signs extension with D.C.

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The reigning MLS MVP and Golden Boot winner is going to be remaining in the nation's capital for the foreseeable future.

Dwyane De Rosario and D.C. United agreed to a contract extension on Monday, ending a long bout of negotiations that have been going on for the duration of the offseason.

MLS unveils Reserve League Schedule

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Major League Soccer revealed its 95-match Reserve League schedule for the 2012 season on Monday.

The league's 19 teams will each play a ten-match reserve league schedule, giving young players and bench players more opportunities to play and develop their game over the course of the 2012 MLS season.

Barcelona 5, Valencia 1: Match Highlights

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Mid-Day Ticker: Torres faces drop against Napoli, Iran cancels friendly and more

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Fernando Torres' time may have finally run out.

The big-money striker has been largely unimpressive in Didier Drogba's absence and was taken off at halftime of Chelsea's 1-1 draw with Birmingham in the FA Cup. Now manager Andres Villas-Boas is rumored to drop the Spaniard to the bench for Tuesday's massive Champions League trip to Napoli.

Gonzalez remains upbeat about injury recovery

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BY ADAM SERRANO

CARSON, Calif. -- It is impossible not to notice the smile on Omar Gonzalez as he watches the Los Angeles Galaxy on the training field.

Gonzlez's sunny demeanour is surprising because one would think that he has very little to smile about.

MLS Preseason recap: TFC's Silva shines, Johnson scores in Seattle debut, & more

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By CALEB SONNELAND

Toronto FC rookie Luis Silva drew raves heading into the 2012 MLS Draft, and is beginning to show why as he establishes himself as a real threat for TFC, which posted a 5-1 victory against South Florida in pre-season MLS action.

The dynamic playmaker found himself on the score sheet early in the fifth minute as he slotted home a 1-on-1 opportunity with the USF keeper to make it 1-0.

European Rewind: Inter, Arsenal and Chelsea struggle, Barcelona run rampant

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Out of Arsenal, Chelsea and Inter Milan, who is having the worst season? It is easy to make a case for all three but what is certain is that these traditional powerhouses are experiencing terrible runs of forms and all three managers are facing increasing pressure.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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By FRANCO PANIZO

If there were fears and concerns from fans and pundits over Tim Ream's move to Bolton Wanderers, you would have been hard-pressed to identify why this weekend.

Three weeks after completing his move to Bolton, Ream made his debut for the club by earning a start and going the distance in a 2-0 FA Cup win over Millwall.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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Promotion candidates across the second, third and fourth tiers of English soccer will look to spring some surprises on Sunday, as the fifth round of the FA Cup continues.Â

League Two side Crawley Town gets a crack at Stoke City; League One club Stevenage, coached by former Colorado Rapids manager Gary Smith, will look to topple Tottenham; and League Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion gets a crack at bringing down Liverpool with places in the quarterfinals on the line.

Rogers suffers concussion in Leeds debut

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What started as a landmark day for Robbie Rogers quickly turned into a forgettable one.

After making his Leeds United debut as a 79th-minute substitute, the U.S. international winger had to be stretchered off the field after a violent head-to-head collision with Doncaster Rovers' Tommy Spurr, one that delayed the game for multiple minutes during second-half stoppage time.

Conde ready for action with Red Bulls after transfer, long road to recovery

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By DAVE MARTINEZ

Just months ago, New York Red Bulls centerback Wilman Conde stood on the brink of recovery without a club to call his own. Ushered out of Mexican Primera side Atlas and fresh off rehabilitation from surgery to his left instep, the former Chicago Fire and MLS Best XI defender was in search for a new opportunity.

Sunderland 2, Arsenal 0: Match Highlights

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Salgado, Oliver among 26 called in for U.S. Under-20 camp

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Vancouver Whitecaps striker Omar Salgado and 2011 CONCACAF Under-17 World Cup qualifying leading scorer Andrew Oliver were among 26 players called in for a U.S. Under-20 training camp by coach Tab Ramos.

The camp begins Monday in Clermont, Fla.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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FA Cup play resumes in England on Saturday, as a number of Premier League powers look to avoid the upset bug en route to the quarterfinals.

Regardless of whether the flu-stricken Landon Donovan plays, Everton will look to send the on-loan American out on a high note by taking care of League Championship side Blackpool in their fifth-round cup clash at Goodison Park.

Impact use top spot in allocation order on Johnson, trade him to Seattle

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The Montreal Impact tried their hand at picking a forward and getting trade value in return once again.

After picking Brian Ching from Houston in the expansion draft only to deal him back to the Dynamo for a draft pick, the Impact used their place atop the MLS allocation order to select Eddie Johnson before promptly dealing him to the Seattle Sounders.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV

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The latter stages of the FA Cup always seem to pit lower-tier underdogs against powerhouses, and this weekend's Round of 16 is no different.

Seven of the eight matchups have Premier League teams squaring off with lower-tier competition as they try to stave off upsets him hopes of reaching the quarterfinals.

Who should Klinsmann call up vs. Italy? (Forwards)

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The lack of reliable options at forward makes Jurgen Klinsmann's decision for which strikers to bring to Genoa for the match against Italy on Feb. 29 a pretty basic exercise.

With a pair of entrenched players at the position and Klinsmann potentially opting for a one-man forward line anyway, he won't be pressed into bringing a slew of players to compete for minutes up top against the Azzurri.

Red Bulls waive Kassel, Hot

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In the end, there just wasn't room on the New York Red Bulls' roster for a pair of young, untested players who happened to come through the team's academy to continue their development.

The Red Bulls waived midfielder Matt Kassel and defender Sacir Hot, both Homegrown Players, on Friday.

Donovan doubtful for loan finale with flu

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Landon Donovan's Everton loan might be coming to an anticlimactic close.

Everton manager David Moyes said that Donovan has been battling the flu and is doubtful for Saturday's FA Cup match against Blackpool at Goodison Park, though he has not been ruled out completely.

"Landon's been great all round, he's contributed in every area, on the pitch and off the pitch he's fitted in really well," Moyes said on Everton's official website.

Ghana, Chile to play friendly at PPL Park

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Philadelphia-area soccer fans are in for a treat at the end of the month.

Ghana and Chile will play an international friendly at PPL Park on Feb. 29, the Philadelphia Union announced on Friday. First kick is slated for 7 p.m.

The 29th, the same day as the U.S. men's national team friendly against Italy, is a FIFA fixture date, so all first-choice players should be made available.

Sundhage names roster for Algarve Cup

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U.S. women's national team coach Pia Sundhage has named a 23-player preliminary roster for the Algarve Cup in Portugal, and there are no surprises in the bunch.

Abby Wambach, Hope Solo and Alex Morgan are among the usual suspects who will compete in the tournament's Group B along with Denmark, Norway and defending World Cup champion Japan followed by a placement game from Feb.

Americans Abroad: Ream to make roster; John, Lletget play for reserves and more

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Another week, another bout of speculation over whether Tim Ream will make his Bolton debut.

At the very least, he appears destined for a place on the bench for the first time since making his move from the New York Red Bulls to the Premier League.

Report: Robles to Red Bulls called off

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One-time U.S. national team goalkeeper Luis Robles won't be manning the nets at Red Bull Arena after all.

Robles' proposed move to the New York Red Bulls has been called off after the league ruled that Robles would have to go through the allocation order after initially claiming he could be added as a discovery signing, according to the Washington Post.

European Look Ahead: Barcelona tries to keep up, FA Cup resumes and more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

While Real Madrid have all but wrapped up the La Liga title, Barcelona still have work to do to lock down second place.

The defending champions welcome third-placed Valencia in one of the more intriguing non-Clasico games of the season.

Must-See Goal: Mehmet Topal

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Friday Kickoff: AEG reportedly in talks to buy Spurs, Zusi signs extension & more

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There could soon be even more American influence at a major Premier League club.

According to a report out of England, Los Angeles-based entertainment giant AEG is in talks to take over ownership of Tottenham for £450 million from current owner Joe Lewis.

AEG, which currently owns the Los Angeles Galaxy and Houston Dynamo (but is looking to sell its share of the Dynamo) has been involved with Tottenham before, as the two organizations teamed in a bid for London's Olympic Stadium back in 2010.

Lessons learned as Galaxy defeat Chivas USA 3-2 in scrimmage

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BY ADAM SERRANOÂ

Preseason is all about learning and both the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA felt that a great deal was learned in their preseason scrimmage on Thursday as the Galaxy defeated Chivas, 3-2

 Starting a primarily reserve team lineup, the Galaxy jumped out to a three goal lead in the first half goals.

Americans Abroad: A Look Ahead

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Landon Donovan's second loan with Everton has gone just as well as anyone could have imagined.

In his near two-month stay with the club, Donovan has helped the club string together a solid run of results with his impressive performances while simultaneously silencing the critics that constantly harp on him for playing in MLS.

Rapids acquire attacking midfielder Rivero from Argentina

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The Colorado Rapids recently hinted that a playmaking midfielder was on his way to the club. We now know who he is.

The Rapids announced on Thursday the acquisition of Martin Rivero on loan for the upcoming season. Rivero, 22, most recently played for second division side Rosario Central in his native Argentina, where he had earned a starting role through the first half of the 2011-2012 season before joining Colorado.

Porter calls in 23 players for February camp

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photo by John Dorton/ISIphotos.com

U.S. Under-23 men's national team head coach Caleb Porter has announced a 23-man roster that will take part in a February camp leading into a friendly with Mexico's U-23 team.

Here is the full roster:

Goalkeepers: Bill Hamid, Sean Johnson

Defenders: Greg Garza, Perry Kitchen, Alfredo Morales, Ike Opara, Kofi Sarkodie, Zarek Valentin, Jorge Villafana

Midfielders: Joe Corona, Mix Diskerud, Dilly Duka, Jared Jeffrey, Amobi Okugo, Michael Stephens

Forwards: Freddy Adu, Juan Agudelo, Terrence Boyd, Teal Bunbury, Joe Gyau, Jack McInerneny, Brek Shea, Tony Taylor

------

What do you think of the roster?

Johnson returns to MLS, club to be determined Friday

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Eddie Johnson is headed back to MLS. For real, this time.

After spending three-and-a-half years in Europe, Johnson agreed to a contract with MLS on Thursday. The 27-year-old forward will go into the league allocation process, and his new team will be determined on Friday.

Timbers sign midfielder Songo'o

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The Portland Timbers have seen enough from Cameroonian midfielder Franck Songo'o to make him one of their own.

The Timbers announced they agreed to a deal with Songo'o on Thursday, signing the former Barcelona youth product after his solid showing in Portland's first four preseason games.

Europa League: Your Running Commentary

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The Europa League's Round of 32 is set to begin on Thursday afternoon, and there are several appetizing match-ups on tap for soccer fans everywhere.

From Ajax-Manchester United to FC Porto-Manchester City to Lazio-Atletico Madrid, Thursday's list of games should have plenty of quality on display as teams look to jump ahead on aggregate in the first legs of these home-and-home series.

Mid-day Ticker: Villas-Boas losing players' faith, Ferguson talks Europa League and more

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By THOMAS FLOYD

As the disappointing results piled up and tensions at Stamford Bridge grew this season, it became only a matter of time before manager Andre Villas-Boas lost players' faith.

Sure enough, Villas-Boas has acknowledged that some of his players have turned against him.

MLS Preseason: Timbers top Fire, Seattle blanks Columbus and more

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By FRANCO PANIZO

The Portland Timbers wrapped up their preseason camp in Carson, California on Wednesday with a win that improved them to 3-0-1 during their time there.

Portland recorded a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Fire in the last preseason match of its training camp at the Home Depot Center.

Must-See Video: Referee dive

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If you wanted to prepare yourself for what you might see from Italy's players when they take on the U.S. men's national team in a friendly later this month, here you go:

Â


Whitecaps sign Middlesbrough's Robson as Designated Player

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Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie has made no secret of his desire for a ball-winning central midfielder, and he may have found the man for the job.

According to reports, the Whitecaps will sign Middlesbrough midfielder Barry Robson on a free transfer once the Championship season concludes.

Americans Abroad: Europa League Preview

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photo by Bill Barrett/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

A handful of Americans could be in action on Thursday afternoon as the knockout phase of the Europa League begins, including two who will be in direct competition with one another.

Jozy Altidore and Sacha Kljestan are set to battle in the first leg of their Round of 32 Europa League fixtures.

Thursday kickoff: Rangers meet with players, Warner investigated and more

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The long and painful climb out of financial ruin for Rangers is just getting started as administrators meet with players today.

Rangers, who were docked 10 points after formally entering administration earlier this week, could face a tax bill of around $156 million. The playing staff, which includes USA internationals Alejandro Bedoya, Maurice Edu and national-team captain Carlos Bocanegra, have been given assurances that there will be no immediate cuts.

Report: Impact deal Ching to Dynamo

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Several months of posturing have led to a compromise in the tug-of-war between the Montreal Impact and Houston Dynamo in the battle for Brian Ching.

According to the Houston Chronicle, the Impact are dealing Ching to the Dynamo for a conditional draft pick.

AC Milan 4, Arsenal 0: Match Highlights

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Zenit-St. Petersburg 3, Benfica 2: Match Highlights

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Who should Klinsmann call up vs. Italy? (Midfielders)

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If there's a logjam and heated competition at any position for the U.S. men's national team, it's in the midfield.

Jurgen Klinsmann has plenty of options to sort through for the heart of his formation, and aside from an injured Stuart Holden and a recently injured Kyle Beckerman, the U.

UCL Rewind: Milan dominates Arsenal, Zenit scores dramatic winner in first legs

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Humiliation is the only word for what occurred at the San Siro on Wednesday.Â

Arsene Wenger saw his UEFA Champions League dreams go down in flames as AC Milan thrashed Arsenal 4-0 in one-sided performance that leaves the Gunners on the brink of an early elimination and has the Serie A leaders in prime position for a place in the quarterfinals.

MLS Notes: Crew get jersey sponsor, Dawkins returns to Earthquakes & more

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After a one-year hiatus, the Columbus Crew will have a jersey sponsor once again.

The club announced a five-year sponsorship deal with shaving products company Barbasol, which is headquartered in the Columbus suburb of Dublin, Ohio.

AC Milan vs. Arsenal: Your Running Commentary

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Two of Europe's most storied clubs continue their quests for continental glory, when AC Milan hosts Arsenal in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League knockout tie (2:45 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel).

The highly anticipated match not only pits two of the world's top strikers, Robin van Persie and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, against each other, but it also marks Thierry Henry's final game while on loan with the Gunners.

Donovan wins Everton's Player of the Month honors

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For the second straight loan, Landon Donovan has performed at a high level for Everton, and for a second straight loan, he's been rewarded with the club's Player of the Month honors.

Donovan captured Everton's award for January, replicating the feat that he accomplished back in January of 2010.

Red Bulls Notebook: Robles in talks, Cooper scores in Tecos draw and more

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By DAVE MARTINEZ

Through three preseason matches, it has become quite apparent that second-round MLS SuperDraft pick Ryan Meara has taken the early lead over Jeremy Vuolo in the Red Bulls' starting goalkeeper race.

USA to open World Cup qualifying in Tampa; Scotland friendly official

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The U.S. men's national team's quest for the 2014 FIFA World Cup will begin in Tampa, Fla., as it hosts Antigua & Barbuda on June 8 in the opening game of its World Cup qualifying run at Raymond James Stadium.

UEFA Champions League: Henry set for Arsenal finale at San Siro and more

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Thierry Henry is set for his Arsenal farewell as the final game of his loan from the New York Red Bulls will come on a grand stage -- a UEFA Champions League knockout stage match at the San Siro in Milan.

Arsenal takes on AC Milan in the most-anticipated Round of 16 knockout tie among the eight pairings.

MLS Preseason: Wondolowski stays hot; Beckerman, Pontius return and more

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Chris Wondolowski made it three goals in three preseason games, as the San Jose Earthquakes played the Houston Dynamo to a 2-2 draw at Oxnard College in California in MLS preseason action on Tuesday.

Wondolowski headed home a cross from Ramiro Corrales to tie things in the 30th minute after new signing Mac Kandji had opened the scoring in the fifth off an assist from second-year forward Will Bruin.

Wednesday Kickoff: Bentley eyeing MLS, USA improves in rankings and more

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Tottenham winger David Bentley could be the next Premier League player on his way to MLS.

According to reports, Bentley is seeking a loan move to MLS. The 27-year-old midfielder spent the last half of last season on loan with Birmingham City and the first portion of this season on loan at West Ham before suffering a knee injury in mid-October.

Report: USA to host Scotland in Jacksonville

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It appears that the U.S. men's national team will kick off its pre-World Cup qualifying friendly tour in the southeast.

According to reports out of Jacksonville, Fla., the U.S. men will host Scotland at EverBank Field -- home of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars -- on May 26.

Bayer Leverkusen 1, Barcelona 3: Match Highlights

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Donovan set to return from loan Sunday

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Landon Donovan has one more game to leave his mark on Everton.

The Los Angeles Galaxy captain will be returning from his loan spell this Sunday, Galaxy coach Bruce Arena told reporters on Tuesday. He will be returning to Los Angeles in full shape.

UCL Rewind: Sanchez, Messi carry Barcelona, Lyon dominant in close victory

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Barcelona's march to a potential third UEFA Champions League title in four years is in full effect after a 3-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday.

The Catalan giants have all but conceded the La Liga crown to Real Madrid but are in good position in the Champions League after the first leg of the Round of 16.

UEFA Champions League: Your Running Commentary

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The UEFA Champions League is back in action, as defending champion Barcelona looks to take its first step toward a quarterfinal berth against an upstart but capable Bayer Leverkusen side in the opening match of the knockout stage. Barcelona is a bit shorthanded for the match, as an injured Xavi has been left out of the lineup, and Gerard Pique is out as well.

Davies speaks on his Sochaux comeback

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Mid-Day Ticker: Tevez returns, Ronaldinho gets Brazil call-up and more

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Of all of the options Carlos Tevez was looking at over the last few months, returning to the field for Manchester City was likely the last on the list. But it's getting closer to happening.

Tevez returned to Manchester and had a physical with the club's doctors on Tuesday ahead of a surprise return to the club after three months away from the team.

Alex Morgan and the SI swimsuit issue

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MLS Notes: Nguyen draws ire for tweet, Rapids eye playmaker and more

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Social media has been a revelation for players and fans to engage in talks, express themselves to each other and establish a stronger relationship. There's a downside to tweeting before thinking things through, however.

Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Lee Nguyen used a homophobic slur in a joke-toned tweet at teammate Brad Knighton Monday night, drawing immediate backlash.

UEFA Champions League: Barcelona in action as knockout stage kicks off

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Two teams on opposite sides of the European spectrum take to the field Tuesday in separate ties as the UEFA Champions League knockout stage kicks off.

On one end, there's defending champion Barcelona, who squares off against Germany's Bayer Leverkusen in the first leg of one of the more anticipated pairings in the Round of 16.

Tuesday Kickoff: Rangers face deadline, Albright signs with Union and more

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Glasgow Rangers' foray into administration appears set for Tuesday.

The club faces a deadline imposed by the Court of Session to appoint an administrator today. Should Rangers fail to meet that deadline, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs would be allowed to step in and detemine who takes over the club's dealings, something that would undermine the club's control while it goes through and tries to climb out of financial turmoil.

Who should Klinsmann call up vs. Italy? (Defenders and Goalkeepers)

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Photo by Brad Smith/ISIphotos.com

The U.S. men's national team's friendly against Italy is a little more than two weeks away, and it is the first chance that manager Jurgen Klinsmann has to have his "A" team assembled together in the new year.

With only a few friendlies remaining before World Cup qualifying begins in June, Klinsmann will look to the Feb.

Report: Houston, Montreal in advanced talks over Ching trade

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The storyline that has been at the forefront of the MLS offseason appears to be on its way to reaching its resolution.

According to reports out of Houston, the Houston Dynamo are engaged in advanced talks with the Montreal Impact for a deal that would send former Dynamo captain and forward Brian Ching back to Houston.

Mid-Day Ticker: Hazard's Spurs deal, Portsmouth into administration and more

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One of Europe's most prized transfer targets could very well be headed to Tottenham this summer.

Belgian playmaker Eden Hazard reportedly has a deal in place to join Spurs during the next transfer window, according to France Football. The report stipulates that the two clubs will still need to come to a transfer agreement, meaning that the move is far from official but is nevertheless along in the process.

Potts gets England U-18 call-up

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The fight for Dan Potts is on.

A U.S.-eligible, 17-year-old left back playing for West Ham, Potts has been called in by England's Under 18 national team for a friendly against Poland next month.

Potts, who has dual eligibility for both England and the United States, has never previously represented England on the youth level, and he took part in a U.

MLS Preseason: Zusi, Saad lift Sporting KC, Gaven shines for Crew and more

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Photo by Bill Barrett/ISIphotos.com


By CALEB SONNELAND

In a prelude to their season-opening match that is less than a month away, Sporting Kansas City topped D.C. United, 2-1, in Casa Grande, Ariz., Saturday on the strength of goals from Graham Zusi and Soony Saad.

Rangers on verge of administration

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One of Europe's more storied clubs finds itself in serious financial jeopardy, and a trio of U.S. internationals could be directly impacted by the repercussions.

Glasgow Rangers, the Scottish power that is home to U.S. internationals Carlos Bocanegra, Maurice Edu and Alejandro Bedoya, is on the verge of going into administration.

USWNT 2, New Zealand 1: Match Highlights

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After coming off a dominant run through CONCACAF Olympic qualifying, the U.S. women's national team had its hands full Saturday night with New Zealand before rising star Alex Morgan came to the rescue.

Morgan scored in the 88th minute and again in stoppage time to help the U.

Monday Kickoff: Suarez issues apology, McCarthy sacked by Wolves and more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

The fallout and reaction from Luis Suarez' handshake snub of Patrice Evra continues a couple of days after the latest incident between the Liverpool striker and Manchester United fullback.

Suarez issued a brief written apology for not shaking Patrice Evra's hand prior to Liverpool's loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday, but lingering tensions between the two camps makes it unlikely that the situation is anything close to being put in the past.

Zambia stuns Ivory Coast in penalties to capture African Cup of Nations

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Ivory Coast was the overwhelming favorite and had the big-name players. It's not like facing those factors had stopped Zambia from maintaining its inspiring quest to be crowned king of Africa before.

Almost 20 years after a plane crash in Libreville, Gabon, killed 25 Zambian national team players and officials, Zambia came full circle and paid an incredible tribute to its 1993 predecessors in that city, stunning Ivory Coast 8-7 in a dramatic penalty shootout after 120 scoreless minutes to capture the African Cup of Nations for the first time in its history.

European Rewind: Drama overshadows United-Liverpool, Henry scores & more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Once again, personal drama overshadowed a thrilling game between longtime rivals Manchester United and Liverpool.

Wayne Rooney scored twice in the first 10 minutes of the second half to give United the lead en route to a 2-1 victory at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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photo by Jose L. Argueta/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

Nearly two and a half years after the accident that almost claimed his life, Charlie Davies made his official return for Sochaux.

Having last played in a Ligue 1 game on Oct. 3, 2009, Davies completed his return to Sochaux by coming off the bench in its 1-0 defeat to Stade Rennes.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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Real Madrid can move a big step closer to the Spanish Premier League title today with a win against Levante in one of the day's most anticipated matches.

Barcelona's shocking loss to Levante on Saturday means Real Madrid could extend their lead atop the La Liga standings to a huge ten points.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra will face each other on the field for the first time since the controversial racism charges against Suarez when Manchester United and Liverpool renew their rivalry in today's marquee match-up.

Suarez will be key to the Reds chances of knocking off Manchester United in a vital match-up for both teams.

Dynamo squeak past Galaxy 1-0 in preseason MLS Cup rematch

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BY ADAM SERRANO

Friday's scrimmage between the Houston Dynamo and the Los Angeles Galaxy may have been a rematch of the 2011Â MLS Cup, but last November's match was far from the minds of all involved.Â

The Dynamo defeated the Galaxy 1-0 after Nathan Sturgis scored the lone goal of the match on a header from a looping cross from Josue Soto in the 68th minute.

U.S. Development Academy switches to 10-month format

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One of Jurgen Klinsmann's goals upon becoming coach of the U.S. national team was to revamp the system from senior team to youth structure, and with Friday's announcement, he has certainly made a major change to the latter.

Starting in September, the U.S. Development Academy will operate on a 10-month schedule, mimicking the development systems of nations around the world.

Report: Red Bulls to host Tottenham in summer friendly

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Planning for summer friendlies is already in the works, and it appears that the New York Red Bulls will be welcoming one of the Premier League's top sides to Red Bull Arena for an exhibition.

According to the New York Post, the Red Bulls will play against Tottenham either July 31 or Aug.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV

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While the marquee game of the weekend, Sunday's African Cup of Nations final between Zambia and Ivory Coast, is not being widely televised throughout the United States, there is still plenty of top-rate action to catch.

This weekend has the potential to be a landmark one for a number of Americans looking to make their mark on the European game.

Russell looks to solidify D.C. defense

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 Photo by Tony Quinn/ISIphotos.com

By THOMAS FLOYD

WASHINGTON -- This past fall, when D.C. United general manager Dave Kasper contemplated his goals heading into the offseason, two of the first priorities that came to mind were adding veteran leadership and strengthening his team's back line.

European Look Ahead: Reds vs. Red Devils, Bundesliga race heats up & more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Liverpool must be getting tired of Manchester.

Kenny Dalglish and Co. face off against a Manchester side for the seventh time this season when United and Liverpool clash in a match full of significance. Manchester United are trying to survive a brutal run of fixtures and keep pace with their cross-town rivals.

John travels with West Ham first team

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The pieces are in place for it to be the weekend of the landmark appearance for Americans across Europe.

After Tim Ream was named to Bolton's matchday roster and Charlie Davies was named to Sochaux's, West Ham announced that centerback George John will be part of the 20-man traveling party for the club's match at Peterborough United on Saturday.

Fire's Johnson ready after busy offseason

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By DAVID GUBALA

The Chicago Fire departed for Ventura, Calif., on Wednesday with a long-missed face settling back with the team for the first time since the end of the regular season.

After having quite the busy offseason, goalkeeper Sean Johnson finally regrouped with the Fire for their second phase of preseason.

Red Bulls Notebook: Henry return date set, Rodgers' visa problems and more

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By DAVE MARTINEZ

There will be no hero's send-off for Thierry Henry.

After Henry scored the final goal in a 7-1 Arsenal victory over Blackburn last weekend, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger eluded to the possibility of extending Henry's loan up to the London derby against Tottenham on Feb.

Friday Kickoff: Davies makes Sochaux lineup, USWNT set for rematches & more

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Photo by Brad Smith/ISIphotos.com

For Charlie Davies, perhaps not securing a full transfer or loan extension was the best tactic to take this winter after all.

Davies has been included on Sochaux's first-team roster for the club's league game at Stade Rennes on Saturday, marking a major milestone for him and his quest to break back into the club's lineup.

Americans Abroad: A Look Ahead

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Landon Donovan's time with Everton is nearing its end and while he may want to make an impact in all of his remaning games with the club, this weekend's match might be at the top of his list.

Everton are set to face Chelsea in a match that will pit Donovan against the likes of John Terry, Juan Mata and Florent Malouda.

MLS Notes: RSL makes moves, Bilello addresses Moreno situation and more

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Real Salt Lake are looking to the future just as much as they are hoping to win an MLS Cup title in 2012.

Real Salt Lake announced four moves on Thursday, including the re-signings of Fabian Espindola and Ned Grabavoy.

Egypt requests postponement of ACN qualifier

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Egypt head coach Bob Bradley and his team are scheduled to open their qualifying campaign for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations on Feb. 29, but that could be pushed back after the Egyptian Federation requested a postponement.

The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) has asked the Confederation of African Football (CAF) that its road match against Central African Republic be postponed due to the events that transpired in Port Said last Wednesday.

Report: CONCACAF, Conmebol planning 18-team tournament in 2016

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Conmebol's Copa America is the oldest international continental tournament in soccer, and 2016 will mark its 100th birthday.

That could also be the year that many American soccer fans have a dream come true.

According to Mexican outlet mediotiempo.

The detailed rundown on how the LA Galaxy have built a juggernaut

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The LA Galaxy just completed one of the best seasons in MLS history, if not the best, and they may be even better in 2012 after enjoying an outstanding off-season that has many scratching their heads at just how they've been able to do it.

If you have been wondering just how the Galaxy have constructed what looks like an unstoppable MLS roster, read my Fox Soccer column detailing just how the Galaxy have done it.

Ream to make gameday squad vs. Wigan

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photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

Tim Ream returned to England earlier this week with all the necessary paperwork completed for him to suit up for Bolton Wanderers, and he might not have to wait long at all to make his debut.

Bolton manager Owen Coyle told reporters on Thursday morning that Ream, and two of the other club's recent acquisitions, will be on the gameday squad that will take on Wigan Athletic in a match with relegation implications on Saturday.

Agbossoumonde hoping to end search for playing time with Carolina RailHawks

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photo by John Dorton/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

Gale Agbossoumonde has accomplished quite a bit in his young career. At 20 years of age, Agbossoumonde has already received his first senior national team cap, played in Europe and won a U.S.

Mid-Day Ticker: Villa fails to extend Keane loan, Redknapp addresses England rumors and more

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 Photo by Neil Tingle/ISIphotos.com

By THOMAS FLOYD

Despite Aston Villa's best efforts, it appears Robbie Keane will head back to the Los Angeles Galaxy later this month -- just as scheduled.

The Villans had hoped to tack another week onto Keane's loan after the Ireland international bagged three goals in his first four EPL appearances for the mid-table club.

FedExField to host USA-Brazil friendly

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photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

The U.S. men's national team's rumored friendly against Brazil has been confirmed, and FedExField will be the site for its location.

In preparation for World Cup qualifying, the United States will host Brazil on May 30 at the home of the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md.

Valencia 0, Barcelona 2: Match Highlights

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Ching all business as Montreal faces Houston in pre-season

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By ADAM SERRANO

CARSON, Calif. -- For months, people have awaited Brian Ching's first match against the Houston Dynamo.

After being left unprotected by Houston in the expansion draft, Ching threatened retirement before eventually being selected by the Montreal Impact.

Wondolowski signs extension with Earthquakes

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photo by Don Feria/ISIphotos.com

For the second consecutive offseason, Chris Wondolowski has signed a contract extension with the San Jose Earthquakes.

A year to the day after signing a new deal with the San Jose Earthquakes, Wondolowski has again agreed to renew his contract with the club.

Thursday Kickoff: Pearce takes England job, Molde to loan Cunningham and more

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By CALEB SONNELAND

Stuart Pearce will take on the seemingly poisoned chalice that is the English national team job — for now.

Following the resignation of former manager Fabio Capello, the country has gone into a frenzy as the Football Association begins its search for a new coach.

Houston trades draft pick for Kandji

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Photo by Tony Quinn/ISIphotos.com

The Houston Dynamo are still actively trying to improve their forward options, and they took a step in that direction by swinging a trade Wednesday night.

The Dynamo traded a conditional 2014 draft pick to the Colorado Rapids for Macoumba Kandji, adding the athletic, Senegalese striker to a stable that currently has Calen Carr, Will Bruin, Cam Weaver and rookie Colin Rolfe.

Evening Ticker: Zambia upsets Ghana in ACN, Barcelona reaches final and more

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The inevitable African Cup of Nations championship matchup between the continent's two powerhouses has made way for a title game involving an underdog side that is a win away from capping off a Hollywood-worthy script.

Upstart Zambia shocked favored Ghana, 1-0, to advance to the tournament final and prevent the Black Stars from seeking redemption for their loss in the 2010 final.

Altidore scores twice in AZ rout

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After a red-hot start to the season, Jozy Altidore had lost his starting role for AZ Alkmaar and was mired in a bit of a scoring slump.

At the very least, that slump is now over.

Altidore scored twice in a four-minute span as a substitute in AZ's 6-0 rout of ADO Den Haag on Wednesday to break a two-month scoring drought.

Gyau makes first-team debut in Hoffenheim cup loss

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Even though TSG 1899 Hoffenheim was unceremoniously dumped out of the DFB Pokal quarterfinals by second-tier Greuther Furth on Wednesday, the match carried significance for one American.

U.S. Under-23 winger Joe Gyau, made his first-team debut for Hoffenheim, entering as an 80th-minute substitute for U.

Juninho's return adds proven commodity to loaded Galaxy midfield

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By ADAM SERRANO

CARSON, Calif. -- Â The rich got even richer on Tuesday as the Los Angeles Galaxy solidified their role as odds-on MLS Cup favorites by re-securing Brazilian midfielder Juninho on a year-long loan.

Juninho, who served as the Galaxy's midfield engine during the past two seasons, returns to Los Angeles after departing in December to return to Brazilian parent club Sao Paulo.

Soccer Wednesday: Your Running Commentary

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The are important matches in domestic cup play across a number of countries, none of which is more intriguing than the Coppa Italia battle between AC Milan and Juventus.Â

The top two teams in Serie A open their anticipated semifinal tie at the San Siro after easing past top-notch competition in the quarterfinals.

Capello resigns as England manager

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The 2012 European Championship commences exactly four months from today, and England is looking for a new manager.

In a monumental development, Fabio Capello resigned from the helm of the English national team on Wednedsay. Capello had been public in his defense of John Terry after the FA stripped the Chelsea centerback of his international captaincy amid his involvement in a racial abuse scandal.

U.S. U-23s to face Mexico U-23s in Olympic qualifying tune-up

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The United States Under-23 men's national team is going to get a proper tune-up for CONCACAF Olympic qualifying, as it will square off against Mexico's Under-23 side in a friendly at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas, on Feb. 29.

The match will be a culmination of a 10-day training camp in Frisco.

Rapids edge Chivas in preseason friendly

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Photo by David Bernal/ISIphotos.comÂ


By ADAM SERRANO

CARSON, Calif. – The Colorado Rapids squeaked past Chivas USA, 1-0, in a physical preseason scrimmage between the two sides on Tuesday.

Second-half substitute Quincy Amarikwa put the Rapids ahead in the 85th minute.

Union sign Colombian forward Pajoy

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The Philadelphia Union completed the long-rumored signing of Colombian forward Lionard Pajoy from Itagui Ditaires on Wednesday, adding a piece that can help fill the scoring void left behind by the departed Sebastien Le Toux. Pajoy has received his P-1 visa, according to a team release, and will be joining the club soon for preseason preparations.

Soccer Wednesday: A Look Ahead

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There is plenty of high-profile soccer going on around the world this Wednesday, but perhaps no games carry as much significance as the two African Cup of Nations semifinals. Ivory Coast and Ghana took care of business in the African Cup of Nations quarterfinals with matching 3-0 victories, and all that stands in the way of a star-studded tournament final is one more win for each team.

Report: Moreno says he's not joining Revs

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The New England Revolution thought that they had secured a prized piece to their attacking puzzle by announcing the signing of Colombian forward Jose "Pepe" Moreno on loan from Once Caldas last week. While that still may wind up being the case, there's something a bit awkward and unusual going on.

Wednesday Kickoff: Redknapp acquitted, two Dynamo players arrested and more

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Harry Redknapp is a free man.

Redknapp and Sheffield Wednesday owner Milan Mandaric were acquitted of tax evasion charges after being found not guilty of avoiding to pay taxes on payments made into an offshore account in Monaco between 2002 and 2007, when both men were at Portsmouth.

Songo'o shines as Timbers defeat Galaxy 4-1 in preseason scrimmage

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BY ADAM SERRANO

CARSON, Calif. -- Cameroonian midfielder Franck Songo'o stole the show for the Portland Timbers as the trialist set up a pair of goals to help lead the Timbers to a 4-1 win against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Tuesday in the first MLS pre-season match for both teams.

Evening Ticker: Cooper gets on board, Redknapp awaits trial verdict and more

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Kenny Cooper opened his New York Red Bulls account on Tuesday, doing so against his former club in the process.

Cooper scored the opening goal in the Red Bulls' 2-0 preseason victory over FC Dallas in Cancun, Mexico, a game that was postponed from Monday because of field conditions.

Former U.S. captain Keough, 84, dies

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The U.S. Soccer community lost a legend Tuesday, as Harry Keough, a national team captain during the memorable 1950 World Cup and a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, died at age 84.

Keough was one of the last surviving members of the 1950 team that beat England, 1-0, in what is considered to be one of the greatest upsets in all of soccer.

Juninho returns on loan to Galaxy

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The Los Angeles Galaxy's search for Juninho's replacement has ended with Juninho himself.

The Sao Paulo central midfielder is on his way back to Los Angeles for another loan spell with the Galaxy. Multiple reports out of Brazil say that Sao Paulo manager Emerson Leao had no plans to use the 23-year-old Juninho, who signed a new three-year deal with Sao Paulo during the MLS offseason.

With club role defined, United's Kitchen looks forward to possibilities in 2012

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Photo by Jose L. Argueta/ISIphotos.com

By AVI CREDITOR

WASHINGTON -- Perry Kitchen had just about everything including the kitchen sink thrown his way in 2011.

As a rookie, Kitchen started 30 of a possible 34 games for D.C. United, splitting time across three positions.

Lichaj gets look at left back in Aston Villa reserve match

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Photo by John Todd/ISIphotos.com

United States fullback Eric Lichaj has completed his return from a hip injury that kept him out of action for the better part of the last five months, making the bench for Aston Villa's first team in its last two matches. Despite Lichaj being a candidate to go on loan upon his return, Aston Villa appears to be remain committed to seeing what he can do for the club, even if that means moving him to a new spot on the field.

MLS Notes: Cascadia clubs get chippy, Valencia undergoes surgery and more

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The Cascadia Cup rivalry takes no games off, even in the preseason.

The Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps dueled to a 1-1 draw in a 120-minute scrimmage in Casa Grande, Ariz., on Monday -- a game that included nine cautions and a red card. The game was split into two 45-minute sessions and a 30-minute one, with each team using different lineups in each period to take advantage of their expanded lists of trialists and rostered players.

Bradley 'totally committed' to Egypt job

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The recent upheaval following a club match in Egypt that left 74 people dead and more than a thousand others injured could have easily convinced Bob Bradley to pack up his things and return to the comfort of the United States.

Instead, the former U.S. national team coach and current Egypt national team coach reportedly remains committed to his job while doing his part in the rebuilding of a nation.

Tuesday Kickoff: Capello to meet with FA, Arsenal plan summer Asian tour & more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

The English FA will meet with national team manager Fabio Capello after rising tensions over the dismissal of John Terry as captain threatens to fracture an already tenuous relationship between the two sides.

Capello has been very outspoken in his disagreement with the FA's decision to strip Terry of the captain's armband after the defender's racism trial was delayed until July.

Buddle believes German detour has made him better

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Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIPhotos.com

BY ADAM SERRANO

CARSON, Calif. -- Fresh off his year and a half long stint in Germany, Edson Buddle does not feel like the same player that departed the Los Angeles Galaxy after a stellar 2010 season.Â

He believes that he's even better.

MLS Notes: United adds Saragosa, RBNY signs Meara, and more

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photo by David Bernal/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

D.C. United added more depth to its midfield on Monday, signing a player who is no stranger to MLS.

United announced the acquisition of midfielder Marcelo Saragosa, the 30-year-old Brazilian who previously had stints with FC Dallas and Chivas USA.

Liverpool vs. Tottenham: Your Running Commentary

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Tottenham and LIverpool both have Champions League aspirations, and both can boost their place near the top of the English Premier League standings when they face off at Anfield today (2:55pm, ESPN2).

Today features the return of Luis Suarez from his suspension for making racist remarks at Manchester United's Patrice Evra, and Suarez will be key to trying to help the Reds climb up from their current seventh-place position in the standings.

You Write the Caption: The Donovan Interview Edition

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It has been almost a year since SBI's last installment of You Write the Caption, and that one came after a two-year hiatus for one of the site's original and most popular series. We plan on changing that after feedback from readers who told us we should bring the series back.

For those of you unfamiliar, You Write the Caption is when we post a funny photo and allow our readers to take their cracks at writing a caption to go with the photo.

Mid-Day Ticker: Suarez set for return, Ibrahimovic suspended and more

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Luis Suarez's spell on the sidelines has come to a close.

Having served his eight-match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra and a one-game suspension for a gesture to Fulham fans, Suarez is set to return for Liverpool on Monday in its game against Tottenham.

Spotlight on Josh Gatt

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Josh Gatt is not a player many American soccer fans have seen play, but he is already considered one of the best young Americans playing in Europe.

The speedy Michigan native has enjoyed an outstanding start to his professional career, going from 18-year-old newcomer to 20-year-old transfer target, having already made one upward move from Austrian club SCR Rheindorf Altach to Norwegian champions Molde.

European rewind: Man United battles back, Roma tops Inter and more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Manchester United just will not go away as they overcame a 3-0 deficit to draw away to Chelsea and keep pressure on Manchester City.

It was shaping up to be a long afternoon at Stamford Bridge as a 1-0 halftime lead for Chelsea from Jonathan Evans' own goal was quickly extended.

Monday Kickoff: Wenger tempted by Henry, Liverpool faces Spurs and more

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By CALEB SONNELAND

Thierry Henry's return to Arsenal may last just a little longer than expected, according to manager Arsene Wenger.

The French striker has enjoyed his brief loan spell at Arsenal, netting a goal in the club's 7-1 win over the weekend.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Sacha Kljestan has quietly put together a solid season for RSC Anderlecht, but he made some noise in the club's latest win on Sunday.

Kljestan scored his third goal of the season (fourth across all competitions) in Anderlecht's 4-2 win over Racing Genk when he fired home a free kick from 30 yards out.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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A big snowstorm hit England on Saturday, threatening to jeopardize the slate of matches set for today, but the big headliner between Chelsea and Manchester United will go on as planned, and it will serve as the marquee match of a busy day in the soccer world.

While the Super Bowl dominates the American sports landscape today, soccer fans here will have plenty to choose from for their viewing pleasures, topped off with the big Chelsea-United clash.

Saturday Ticker: Sporting KC tops San Jose, Henry scores in Arsenal romp and more

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Sporting Kansas City's quest to repeat as Eastern Conference regular season champions began today with a 2-1 pre-season victory against the San Jose Earthquakes in the pre-season opener for both clubs.

Kansas City midfielder Konrad Warzycha delivered the game-winning goal, converting a free kick to break a 1-1 deadlock.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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Clint Dempsey will try to keep his torrid hot streak in the English Premier League going against a Manchester City side looking to hold on to first place in one of today's best matches.

The Cottagers are in need of points to move further away from the relegation zone, but earning any in Manchester against a City side coming off a loss to Everton won't be easy.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV

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Not too long ago, Chelsea and Manchester United were fighting each other for league titles and UEFA Champions League superiority. Now, the Blues are just hoping to chip away at a 12-point table deficit that keeps mounting by the week.

The two English giants battle Sunday at Stamford Bridge in a nationally televised game on the Fox network, with United looking to maintain its place atop the league while dealing perhaps the final blow to Chelsea's faint title hopes and forcing the club into a fight for a place in Europe next season.

D.C. United Notes: Salihi adds scoring punch, De Rosario talks continue & more

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By THOMAS FLOYD

With Thursday's acquisition of Albanian striker Hamdi Salihi as their second Designated Player, D.C. United is making one thing abundantly clear: After spending the past few seasons breaking down and rebuilding an aging roster, this team is once again ready to win now.

MLS Notes: Timbers' Valencia needs surgery, Folan leaves Colorado and more

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After an offseason full of major moves, promise and tangible signs of improvement, the Portland Timbers were hit with a sizeable dose of bad news Friday.Â

Colombian striker Jose Adolfo Valencia, signed as a Young Designated Player back in December, requires knee surgery to repair damaged cartilage in his left knee and is going to be out for anywhere from the next 6-to-12 months.

European Look Ahead: Chelsea-United, German deadlock continues and more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

A substantial portion of America will be treated to an extra helping of soccer on the biggest sporting day of the year as Manchester United takes on Chelsea live on Fox on Super Bowl Sunday.

This is the second time in less than a month a Premier League game will be seen on network television.

SBI Live Q&A (Feb. 3rd Edition)

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It is that time again. Time for us to discuss all things soccer in the latest SBI Live Q&A.

Join me as I take questions on all aspects of the sport, as well as some pop culture questions, for the next hour or two.

Want to talk U.S. national team? Landon Donovan's loan?

Mid-Day Ticker: Cold weather threatens European slate, Bornstein plays & more

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Frigid temperatures and snowstorms across Europe are starting to take their toll on the soccer schedule.

Saturday's anticipated match between Roma and Inter Milan has already been postponed because of snow blanketing Rome. The Cesena-Catania match has also been called off, and that is in addition to four midweek Serie A games having to be rescheduled because of the snow.

Fire Notebook: Klopas addresses DP rumors, club makes roster cuts and more

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By DAVID GUBALA

The Chicago Fire are now a good two weeks into their first phase of preseason camp and have been making all of the necessary adjustments as the start of the new 2012 campaign nears. Part of the preseason activity, though, has included shooting down rumors of a superstar Designated Player acquisition.

African Cup of Nations quarterfinals set

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After winning their respective groups, Ivory Coast and Ghana are on a crash course for a high-profile final at the African Cup of Nations, but there is still work to be done before the top two African nations do battle for the continent's top prize.

The Elephants, one of two sides to secure all nine points during the group stage, might have to go through both host countries to reach the final.

International calendar taking shape for U.S. men's national team

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Photo by Rick Osentoski/ISIphotos.com

With Thursday night's official announcement that the U.S. men's national team will be taking on Canada in a pre-World Cup qualifying friendly at BMO Field in Toronto on June 3, another piece to the team's 2012 puzzle is in place.

SBI Live Q&A set for 1pm Today

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If you've been wondering when the next SBI Live Q&A would be, wonder no more. We will be having one today.

The latest SBI Live Q&A will take place at 1pm this afternoon, so get your questions ready to discuss everything from the MLS pre-season to the U.S. national team, to Clint Dempsey's insane form to European soccer and the international game.

Friday Kickoff: Bradley marches with protesters, Terry loses captaincy & more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

As Egypt reels from the tragic deaths in Port Said, national team coach Bob Bradley is taking a role in the rebuilding.

The former U.S. manager joined in a non-violent protest march on Thursday as public anger against the interior ministry grows.

Expectations high as Buddle returns to LA

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Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIPhotos.com

BY ADAM SERRANO

CARSON, Calif. -- With Landon Donovan, David Beckham and Robbie Keane, the Los Angeles Galaxy boasted one of the strongest rosters in MLS.

Now with the addition of Edson Buddle, the Galaxy's attack may be the finest in league history.

Americans Abroad: A Look Ahead

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By FRANCO PANIZO

The winter transfer window closed this past Tuesday, and a pair of Americans who secured moves during it will be looking to make their debuts this weekend.

George John and Robbie Rogers could make their first appearances abroad for West Ham United and Leeds United, respectively, as the Championship gets back into a full weekend swing.

Sundhage calls in 28 players for friendly with New Zealand

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photo by Stephen Brashear/ISIphotos.com

Fresh off a successful Olympic qualifying campaign, U.S. women's national team head coach Pia Sundhage has called up 28 players for its upcoming friendly against New Zealand.

Nineteen of the 20 players on the Olympic qualifying roster were summoned by Sundhage for the Americans' first game on home soil this year, including Alex Morgan, Hope Solo and Abby Wambach.

A Look Back at USA U23s camp

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The U.S. Under-23 men's national team has just over a month left before Olympic qualifying takes place, and Caleb Porter's side wrapped up its penultimate camp last week in Costa Rica with a pair of friendlies.

Playing without some of its top players, the Americans played to a scoreless draw with the Saprissa reserves.

Earthquakes add Colombian Moreno

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photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

The San Jose Earthquakes have added some punch to their attack, and it comes in the form of Colombian midfielder Tressor Moreno.

The Earthquakes announced they signed Moreno on Thursday, adding a 33-year-old attacking midfielder with experience playing for clubs in Colombia, France, Mexico, Peru and Chile.

D.C. United signs striker Salihi as DP

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D.C. United has signed its fourth-ever Designated Player, acquiring forward Hamdi Salihi on Thursday.

Salihi, 28, joins United after scoring 11 goals in 15 matches in all competitions with Rapid Vienna in its current season in Austria's top division. Born in Shkoder, Albania, Salihi is also a member of his country's national team.

Mid-Day Ticker: Morales set to start, Egypt internationals retire and more

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By FRANCO PANIZO

U.S. prospect Alfredo Morales has not seen the field for Hertha Berlin since October, but that will not stop him from making his first-ever start in the Bundesliga this coming weekend.

Morales is slated to start at right back in place of the suspended Christian Lell when Hertha faces Hannover 96, according to head coach Michael Skibbe.

Report: USA to play Canada in friendly

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photo by Rick Osentoski/ISIphotos.com

It appears U.S. men's national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is making a concentrated effort to get to know CONCACAF teams prior to World Cup qualifying.

According to a report, the United States will travel to Canada to take on its northern rival in a friendly before World Cup qualifying begins in June.

MLS Notes: Bravo signs extension with Rapids, Revs sign Moreno and more

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photo by JN Santos/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

The man responsible for the tumultuous offseason the Colorado Rapids endured is prolonging his stay with the club.

Technical Director Paul Bravo signed a new three-year deal with the Rapids on Wednesday, extending a stay that began in 2009.

Boyd to train with Dortmund's first team

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The departure of Mohamed Zidan from Borussia Dortmund has opened the door of opportunity for U.S. Under-23 national team forward Terrence Boyd.

With Zidan having moved to Mainz during the transfer window, Boyd and fellow youngster Marvin Duksch have been summoned from their respective reserve teams by head coach Jurgen Klopp.

Thursday Kickoff: Egypt FA board dissolved, Barca ties after Messi misses and more

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By FRANCO PANIZO

A day after a riot at a club soccer game in Egypt left at least 74 dead and many others injured, Egypt's prime minister has dissolved the Egyptian FA's board.

Kamal el-Ganzouri announced the decision to dissolve the board during Thursday's emergency parliamentary session, and also said that the governor of Port Said (where the game took place) and the area's police chief have resigned.

Galaxy Notebook: Villarreal out six weeks, Birchall's status in question and more

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BY ADAM SERRANO

The Los Angeles Galaxy enjoyed a banner day on Wednesday, but it was by no means a perfect one.Â

After signing forward Edson Buddle and acquiring midfielder Kyle Nakazawa in a deal from the Philadelphia Union, the Galaxy learned that homegrown signing Jose Villarreal will be out for six weeks.

Red-hot Dempsey scores again

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Clint Dempsey did it again.

Dempsey scored another goal for Fulham, tallying the opener in the Cottagers' 1-1 draw with West Brom on Wednesday. Costa Rican international Bryan Ruiz slipped Dempsey a pass inside the area, and the American turned and finished with a right-footed strike in the 69th minute to add to his current run of form.

Galaxy acquire Nakazawa from Union

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Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com

The Los Angeles Galaxy and Philadelphia Union both made their fair share of headlines this week, so it is only appropriate that they combined for another one.

Los Angeles acquired central midfielder Kyle Nakazawa and a second-round pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft from Philadelphia Wednesday in exchange for an international roster spot.

Red Bulls 'no longer an option' for Vega

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By DAVE MARTINEZ

As the New York Red Bulls opened their preseason camp two weeks ago, coach Hans Backe surveyed the landscape of his young goalkeeping ranks and assessed the need for an established veteran to take a leadership role.

Despite being heavily rumored to be grasping that role, Venezuelan netminder Renny Vega will not be the one manning the posts at Red Bull Arena this season.

Must-See Goal: Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu

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Deadly riot erupts at Egyptian match

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A violent riot erupted following a match between Egyptian rivals Al-Masry and Al-Ahly, leaving dozens of people dead and hundreds of others injured.

According to various reports, the still-escalating death count from the incident in Port Said, Egypt, stands at 73, while Egyptian outlets are reporting that the country's health ministry has said that more than 1,000 are hurt.

Soccer Wednesday: Your Running Commentary

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With the transfer window shut, teams across Europe are moving forward with their new parts in place.Â

Queens Park Rangers' newest signings Djibril Cisse and Taye Taiwo are in the starting lineup for the club's match at Aston Villa, which has Robbie Keane in the starting lineup and Americans Brad Guzan and Eric Lichaj ready on the bench.

Buddle returning to Galaxy

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Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com

For the other 18 teams in MLS, knocking the Los Angeles Galaxy off their perch atop the league just became a bit more difficult.

U.S. national team forward Edson Buddle is rejoining the Galaxy after being released from his contract with FC Ingolstadt 04 on Tuesday, sources told SBI.

Who gets your vote for the National Soccer Hall of Fame?

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U.S. Soccer released its ballot for the National Soccer Hall of Fame on Tuesday, with 31 former players -- and 12 first-time nominees -- making the final ballot for the Class of 2012.

Among the first-timers are former U.S. goalkeeper Tony Meola and captain Claudio Reyna.

Agbossoumonde set for RailHawks loan

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Photo by John Dorton/ISIphotos.com

U.S. Under-23 national team defender Gale Agbossoumonde is set to finalize a loan move to the NASL's Carolina RailHawks today, sources told SBI.

The 20-year-old Agbossoumonde has been on a constant quest for consistent playing time for the better part of the last three years, having stints with Sporting Braga in Portugal, Djurgardens IF in Sweden and Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany yield few first-team minutes.

Red Bulls' Rodgers secures U.S. visa

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Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

By DAVE MARTINEZ

New York Red Bulls manager Hans Backe will be able to count on Luke Rodgers after all.

After suffering a lapse in his U.S. visa status that left his future with the Red Bulls up in the air, the English striker is no longer a question mark entering the 2012 MLS season after having his visa approved and renewed.

MLS Notes: Alvarez signs in Portugal, Rapids add Cabrera to staff and more

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Photo by David Bernal/ISIphotos.com

As it turns out, Arturo Alvarez won't be suiting up for Chivas USA heading into the 2012 MLS season after all.

Alvarez, who was selected by Chivas in the first stage of the MLS Re-Entry Draft but never came to terms with the club as he sought opportunities overseas, has reportedly signed with Portuguese top-flight club Pacos de Ferreira on a two-and-a-half-year contract.

Wednesday Kickoff: FIFA considers rule changes; United, Spurs close gap & more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

FIFA is considering a number of rule changes that could have a major impact on the international game going forward.

The major proposal that FIFA's board is facing would allow teams to use a fourth substitute in extra time in an attempt to cut down on player injuries.