Soccer By Ives Archives for January 2016

Soccer Wednesday: Your Running Commentary

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First place in the Bundesliga in on the line on Wednesday, as the perennial title favorite takes on the upstart challenger.

Bayern Munich and Red Bull Leipzig enter the final matchday before the winter break tied on 36 points. Bayern enters the match in first due to a superior goal differential.

Americans Abroad Wednesday Preview: Morales, Johannsson and more

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The Bundesliga once again takes centerstage on Wednesday as several Americans could see the field ahead of the winter break.

Following a goalscoring performance last time out, Alfredo Morales will look to continue to build as Ingolstadt takes on Freiburg. The American midfielder is in the lineup as Ingolstadt looks to climb out of the relegation zone.

Report: Greg Garza joining Atlanta United on loan

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Atlanta United continues to aggressively construct a roster shaping up to be a very strong one by MLS expansion team standards.

The latest piece to the Atlanta puzzle is Greg Garza, with reporting that Atlanta United has added Garza on loan for the 2017 season.

Atlanta acquired the rights to the left backin a trade this week.

MLS Ticker: Will Johnson reportedly heading to Orlando City, Dynamo add defender, and more

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Fresh off a second straight trip to MLS Cup, veteran midfielder Will Johnson is ready to join his third team in three seasons.

The Canadian national team midfielder is set to sign with Orlando City, the Orlando Sentinel reported on Wednesday. A free agent, Johnson will join the Lions from Toronto FC, which he helped reach the 2016 MLS Cup final.

Thursday Kickoff: Rodriguez, Draxler, Balotelli and more

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Two top midfielders could be on the move to big clubs, while a controversial star could return to the world's most-watched league.

Juventus general manager Beppe Marotta says that James Rodriguez could be a target for the club if the price is right. (REPORT)

Liverpool is reportedly looking to make a move for Wolfsburg midfielder Julian Draxler.

Report: Celtic making progress in pursuit of Nagbe

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The Portland Timbers could be losing creative flair in midfield as they look to rebound from a rough 2016 season.

According to the Scottish Sun, Celtic is making significant process in securing a deal for U.S. men's national team midfielder Darlington Nagbe, with the rumored cost at €3 million.

A look at the most interesting players available in Stage 2 of the MLS Re-Entry Draft

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After a painfully uneventful first stage a week ago, the MLS Re-Entry Draft returns on Thursday with the second stage.

The same list of players are eligible to be selected, and the same order has been retained, with the Chicago Fire picking first and Minnesota United last. Players who are chosen during the second stage are able to negotiate new deals, unlike those picked in the first stage.

A look at uncapped players that could earn call-ups to USMNT January camp

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Photo by Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports

January is a time to start new. It's a new year, a new chance, one that many look at as a starting point to set the tone for the year ahead. The same could be said for the U.S. Men's National Team, whose annual January camp has become a starting point for several international careers.

USMNT remains No. 28 in FIFA rankings to close 2016

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Photo by Trevor Ruszkowski /USA Today Sports

The U.S. Men's National Team stayed still in the latest FIFA world rankings.

The U.S. will be ranked No. 28 in the rankings and No. 3 in CONCACAF entering 2017. The USMNT remains in the same position after falling four spots from October to November.

Alvarado, Club America set to face Torres' Tigres in Liga MX final

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Photo by Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports

Eighteen days after the conclusion of the Liga MX Apertura Liguilla semifinals, the first leg of the final kicks off on Thursday night at Estadio Azteca.

Ventura Alvarado and Club America arehunting for the club's record-extending 13th title over Luis Silva and Jose Torres' Tigres, who are looking to knock off Mexico's biggest club.

Diskerud's NYCFC future remains in doubt as club looks to add new pieces

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Photo by Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports

Mix Diskerud's future with New York City FC has been in doubt for quite some time, and it appears that the club is stilllooking for a solution regarding the U.S. Men's National Team midfielder.

Speaking at David Villa's MVP award ceremony on Tuesday, head coach Patrick Vieira said that the club is working to find a solution that works for both the club and Diskerud as NYCFC moves into what should be a busy offseason.

Matt Hedges signs new contract with FC Dallas to 2020

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Photo by Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports

Less than a month after earning the MLS Defender of the Year honors for 2016, Matt Hedges has been rewarded for his efforts by FC Dallas.

The centerback has signed a new four-year contract with Dallas, locking him up through the 2020 season.

Hedges was largely influential to Dallas' defensive success during the 2016 season.

After claiming MVP honors, Villa hopes to continue making history in MLS

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Photo by Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports

As a player who has won every major trophy imaginable, David Villa had nothing left to prove to the soccer world when he departed Europe in 2014.

However, Villa himself felt he still had plenty left to do.

The Spaniard's ambitions took him onto his next journey: soccer in America.

Report: Donovan unlikely to return to Galaxy in 2017

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Photo by Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

Landon Donovan shocked many when he announced he would return to the LA Galaxy for the MLS season's stretch run. However, it appears that return will be fairly short-lived.

According to Sports Illustrated, Donovan is unlikely to return to the Galaxy next season.

Soccer Tuesday: Your Running Commentary

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The final round of the group stage in the UEFA Champions League highlights the action on Tuesday.

Group B is still up for grabs as Benfica hosts Napoli and Besiktas travels to Dynamo Kyiv. The former three teams are battling for the top two spots in the group as they are all separated by one point.

Railhawks rebrand as North Carolina FC while announcing MLS, NWSL aspirations

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Photo via North Carolina FC.

The Carolina Railhawks have officially rebranded, but they havebigger goals in mind for the future.

The Railhawks announced a complete rebrand on Tuesday and will now be referred to as North Carolina Football Club, or NCFC for short. They also unveiled a new crest andprimary team colors.

UEFA Champions League Preview: Bayern faces Atletico, Barca takes on Monchengladbach and more

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Four UEFA Champions League groups conclude on Tuesday, and there's plenty left to play for.

The focus of Tuesday's action is on Group B, the most open of the Champions League foursomes. Entering the final round of matches, three teams are vying for two spots in the knockout rounds. Both on eight points, Napoli and Benfica collide knowing that a win would seal a spot in the knockout rounds.

New York City FC's David Villa named 2016 MLS MVP

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Photo by Greg Bartram/USA TODAY Sports

One of the most decorated players in soccer history collected another accolade on Tuesday as David Villa was named the 2016 MLS MVP.

The New York City FC captain and striker tallied 23 goals and four assists in 33 games this season and garnered 25.

Report: Swansea City launches review as pressure on Bradley heats up

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Bob Bradley is reportedly on the hot seat at Swansea City already.

According to the Telegraph, the club will conduct a review of themost recent results as it searches for a solution to climb out of the relegation zone in the Premier League. Bradley's team selections have reportedly come under scrutiny, as the manager has frequently changed lineups through his first matches in charge.

SBI MLS MVP: David Villa

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Photo by Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports

The 2016 MLS season was very kind to New York City FC forward David Villa.

The Spaniard finished the campaign with 23 goals and four assists in 33 appearances as he helped NYCFC qualify for the postseason for the first time. Those accomplishments have led to Villa being named the SBI MLS Most Valuable Player of 2016.

Altidore, Dempsey, Wood headline nominees for U.S. Soccer awards

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Photo by Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports

With 2016 coming to an end, U.S. Soccer has listed a list of nominees for several year-end awards.

Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Geoff Cameron, Clint Dempsey and Bobby Wood headline the list of nominees as the five were announced as the shortlist for Male Player of the Year.

Tuesday Kickoff: Ronaldo, Liga MX, Hodgson and more

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Cristiano Ronaldo is the latest superstar to face tax issues, while a women's league may soon be coming to Mexico.

The president of the union at Spain's tax authority says he expects Cristiano Ronaldo to face tax charges similar to those faced by Lionel Messi in recent months. (REPORT)

The 18 clubs that make up Liga MX have agreed to start an under-23 women's league.

Atlanta United FC signs Paraguayan midfielder Miguel Almiron

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Photo by Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

After signing a number of promising young players, Atlanta United FC has added an expensive Paraguayan midfielder.

The club announced on Monday the acquisition of 22-year-old Paraguay international Miguel Almiron from Lanus of the Argentine Primera Division.

Red Bulls, Galaxy, FC Dallas well-represented in MLS Best XI

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Photo by Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports

The 2016 MLS Best XI was revealed on Monday, with a pair of FC Dallas, New York Red Bulls and LA Galaxy players among the 11 on the list.

Defender of the Year Matt Hedges and Dallas playmaker Mauro Diaz were named, along with assists leader Sacha Kljestan and his fellow MVP candidate Bradley Wright-Phillips.

NYCFC sign USL MVP, Golden Boot winner Sean Okoli

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New York City FC didn't waste any time this offseason in finding some goal-scoring help for MVP candidate David Villa.

The team has signed FC Cincinnati forward Sean Okoli just weeks after the end of their second season. The USL MVP and Golden Boot winner scored 16 goals in 29 games for the hugely successful FC Cincinnati, and adds some much-needed attacking prowess to a team that just lost Frank Lampard, Tony Taylor, and Steven Mendoza.

Report: Cosmos cease operations as owners negotiate sale

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The New York Cosmos recent struggles took another, potentially fatal, turn this weekend.

The Cosmos have reportedly ceased operations and released their players and staff, according to Big Apple Soccer. The team could be saved, however, as the Cosmos ownership have entered negotiations with a New York group for the purchase of the team, along with several million dollars in debt.

Must-See Goal: Alejandro Camargo

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Americans Abroad Sunday Rewind: Alvarado, Chandler, Grossman and more

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Before officially departing his current club, Ventura Alvarado had a part to play in guiding Club America to the Liga MX Apertura final.

Alvarado started and played all 90 minutes at right back, helping guide Club America to a 2-0 win over Necaxa. The win sees the club seal a 3-1 aggregate victory, booking a date with Jose Torres, Luis Silva and Tigres in the Liga MX finale.

Monday Kickoff: Blatter, Neymar, Chapecoense and more

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Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter had his ban upheld, while one of Barcelona's biggest stars is dealing with some injury issues.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissed Sepp Blatter's appeal of a six-year ban from the game on Monday. (REPORT)

Neymar missed Barcelona training due to muscle fatigue in the groin area.

Akinola, Sargent in top form as U.S. U-17s shut out Brazil

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Photo via U.S. Soccer

The U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team finished the Nike International Friendlies as champions on Sunday, and their forward trio was in top form once again.

Ayo Akinola, Josh Sargent and Timothy Weah scored as the U.S. shut out Brazil 3-0. The victory clinched the 2016 Nike International Friendlies title for the Americans as they finished the tournament with three wins from three games, outscoring their opponents 14-2 in the process.

Americans Abroad Saturday Rewind: Wooten, Johnsen, Williams and more

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Two strikers on the outside of the U.S. Men's National Team picture remain in fine form.

Both Andrew Wooten and Bjorn Johnsen found the back of the net yet again, as the two strikers continued their recent hot-streak. Wooten's finish, which came in a 3-1 win over Nurnberg, was the Sandhausen's eighth in 10 games.

College Cup Quarterfinal Rewind: Stanford top Louisville, Denver edges Clemson and more

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Although the College Cup 2015 champions are still very much in the running for this year's trophy, three other deservingsemifinalists will be jumping at the chance to unseat Stanford.

The four teams emerging from the quarterfinal round are North Carolina, Denver, Wake Forest and Stanford.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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Following a Saturday dominated by El Clasico, Sunday brings a schedule full of action.

English soccer features several heavyweights, and the day's action begins with title contenders Liverpool. The Reds face off with underdogs Bournemouth to begin the day's two-game schedule before Manchester United takes on Everton in a clash of two teams looking to make a push up the table.

Carleton, Akinola shine again as U.S. U-17s cruise past Turkey

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Photo via U.S. Soccer.

The attacking trio for theU.S. Under-17 Men's National Team impressed again in the Nike International Friendlies, but a pair of forwards were particularly impactful.

Atlanta United's Andrew Carleton and Toronto FC's Ayo Akinola both had braces, Timothy Weah added another goal, and the U.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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El Clasico takes centerstage on what should be a busy Saturday of soccer action.

Real Madrid and Barcelona collide in Saturday's marquee match, pitting La Liga's heavyweights against one another in the latest chapter of their historic rivalry. Entering Saturday's match, Real Madrid has a six-point lead over their longtime rivals, making the clash a pivotal one in the early stages of the La Liga title race.

Ventura Alvarado signs with Santos Laguna

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Photo by Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports

Ventura Alvarado is moving on to a new club.

Following nine yearsat Club America,U.S. Men's National Team defender signed with fellow Liga MX side Santos Laguna on Friday. With the move, Alvarado joins fellow American defender Jorge Villafana at the Mexican club.

Sizing up a potential return to MLS for Guzan

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After spending nearly a decade forging a career in England, Brad Guzan might be returning to the league that gave him his start.

Guzan has been linked with a potential return to MLS this winter, according to a report from FourFourTwo.The storystates that the 32-year-old goalkeeper might just be gauging club's interest in him ahead of the 2017 MLS campaign, and that a move back to the league that he spent three-and-a-half years in would see him come back on a non-Designated Player deal.

MLS Ticker: Minnesota United conflict with Vikings, Railhawks state MLS intentions, and more

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After losing out to a competing bid for an MLS expansion franchise, the Minnesota Vikings appear to be making life difficult for Minnesota United.

The Vikings are reportedly seeking legal action to prevent Minnesota United from hosting friendlies at their new U.S. Bank Stadium without their consent.

NCAA Tournament Quarterfinal Preview: Louisville takes on Stamford, Clemson faces Denver and more

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As the NCAA Tournament kicks off its quarterfinal matches on Friday, the clear dominance from ACC representatives isclear to see.

All four of the matches in this round will be hosted by an ACC team, and the battle between Wake Forest and Virginia Tech will ensure that at least one ACC representative travels to Houston next weekend.

Atlanta United signs U.S. U-19 forward Vasquez

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Atlanta United certainly appear to be building a true contender ahead of their inaugural season, and the good news continues with another signing.

Atlanta have signed U.S. Under-19 Men's National Team forward Brandon Vasquez as the ninthplayer on their roster. The 18-year-old forward joins from Club Tijuana, and has earned significant playing time in the U.

Americans Abroad Weekend Preview: Pulisic, Johnson, Liga MX and more

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It's a busy weekend for Americans Abroad, and a clash between two of the U.S. Men's National Team's biggest stars headlines a loaded schedule.

Christian Pulisic and Fabian Johnson collide in Bundesliga action, as Borussia Dortmund takes on Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday. Both sides can certainly use a win, as the two currently sit seventh and 12th on the table, respectively.

English Premier League Preview: Manchester City, Chelsea collide and more

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Fans tuning in to English Premier League action this weekend will be up for a real treat in the early hours of Saturday, as they'll see a top of the table clash between Manchester City and Chelsea.

The Blues enter Saturday's big-time showdown unbeaten in league play since a Sept.24 defeat to Arsenal.

Gooch to see specialist for ankle injury

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It's been a fantastic start to the season for Lynden Gooch, so an injury setback comes as a major disappointment to the U.S. Men's National Team midfielder.

After being stretchered off during a Sunderland U-23 match against Tottenham with an ankle injury, Gooch will have to see a specialist for potential ligament damage, Sunderland manager David Moyes stated in his pre-match press conference.

Friday Kickoff: Ronaldinho, Iniesta, Sturridge and more

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A Brazilian legend is looking to help out Chapecoense, while a Spanish star will be fit for El Clasico.

Ronaldinho's agent says the 36-year-old midfielder is willing to play for Chapecoense to help aid in the club's rebuild following the recent tragic plane crash. (REPORT)

Barcelona manager Luis Enrique says Andres Iniesta is fit for El Clasico this weekend.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV

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It may be just the first El Clásico of the seasonthis weekend, but Barcelona is already facing a must-win situation against its hated rival come Saturday.

Currently trailing Real Madrid by six points in La Liga standings, the hosts for this weekend's headlining fixture can ill-afford to watch that deficit increase.

Minnesota United unveil Venegas, Davis as MLS signings

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Minnesota United began constructing its MLS roster by signing two club stalwarts on Thursday.

DefendersKevin Venegas and Justin Davis were unveiled as Minnesota's first MLS signings. Both players have spent their entire professional careers with the Loons.

"I've been wanting to bring my style of play to Major League Soccer for as long as I can remember," said Venegas.

MLS Ticker: Pareja, Nikolic, Minnesota United, and more

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Photo by Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports

The Chicago Fire are reportedly interested in a Hungarian international striker, while Oscar Pareja added more hardware to his trophy cabinet.

The Chicago Fire are reportedly closing in on 28-year-old Hungarian forward Nemanja Nikolic, who has also been linked to Hull City in the Premier League.

SBI MLS Coach of the Year: Pablo Mastroeni

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Photo by Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports

No club in MLS experienced a more dramatic turnaround than the Colorado Rapids this season.

One year after finishing at the bottom of the Western Conference, head coach Pablo Mastroeni guided his team to second place in the West before reaching the conference final.

Impact rue lapses in emotional loss to Toronto FC

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Photo by Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports

It was one of the most exhilarating series in recent memory. Goals galore, a real rivalry, stakes that truly mattered to all involved. The clash between Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact had everything, but when all was said and done, someone had to fall short.

Sargent, Carleton propel U.S. U-17s to massive win over Portugal

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The U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team got off to a hot start at the Nike International Friendlies.

Josh Sargent scored a hat-trick and Andrew Carleton had a brace as the U.S. U-17s destroyed Portugal, 7-1, on Wednesday night.

Carleton opened the scoring on eight minuteson a penalty, with Sargent doubling the advantage shortly thereafter.

Toronto FC 5, Montreal Impact, 2: Match Highlights

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Photo by John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports

Americans Abroad Wednesday Rewind: Johnsen, Yarbrough, Grossman and more

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Bjorn Johnsen continued his recent hot streak, while William Yarbrough came out on the wrong side of aLiga MX Liguilla clash.

Days after netting a brace, Johnsen provided an assist in Hearts' 2-0 win over Scottish powerhouse Rangers. The match also featured U.S. Men's National Team midfielder and Hearts captain Perry Kitchen, who went the full 90 minutes in the win.

Garber: MLS priority 'getting young guys who are at their prime'

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Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images

With a noted shift in DP policy at many MLS clubs over the past few years, commissioner Don Garber has chimed in on the league's need for younger stars.

Speaking during halftime of Wednesday's thrilling Eastern Conference final between Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact, Garber praised younger, in their prime stars such as Sebastian Giovinco and Ignacio Piatti, stating that MLS needs more players like them.

Dortmund: Pursuing Pulisic 'not worth the effort for Liverpool'

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18-year old U.S. Men's National Team winger Christian Pulisic has enjoyed a breakout campaign so far at Botussia Dortmund, drawing the eyes of many envious teams.

One of those in pursuit of the young talent is his former manager Jurgen Klopp, now at Liverpool. After reportedly having a bid of €13 million rejected over the summer, Liverpool may be amping up their efforts to bring Pulisic to Anfield.

Thursday Kickoff: Mourinho, Bielsa, Cavani and more

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One famous manager is set for a one-game suspension, while another is reportedly in talks regarding a new job.

Jose Mourinho has been given a one-match ban after being sent to the locker room in Sunday's clash with West Ham. (REPORT)

Harry Kane signed a new deal with Tottenham that will keep him at the club until 2022.

TFC on brink of erasing long history of underachievement

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Photo by Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports

There were always three certainties in life: Death, taxes and Toronto FC missing the playoffs.

The latter changed last year after TFC qualified for the postseason for the first time in franchise history. However, the euphoria was short-lived after the Montreal Impact crushed the Reds, 3-0, in the knockout round.

TFC scores twice in extra time to clinch win over Impact, first MLS Cup Final berth

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Photo by John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports

TORONTO Wednesday's clash between Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact was one of the more thrilling in MLS playoff history and, when all was said and done, TFC stood tall as the club moved towards MLS Cup.

A quick double from TFC in the first half of extra time booked the Canadian club'sspot in the 2016 MLS Cup final thanks to a 5-2, win in the second of the Eastern Conference final.