MLS on NBC Sports Network: Philadelphia Union hosts Colorado

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Philadelphia will stand sentinel over that wonderful home record of two seasons at PPL Park in suburban Chester, taking on Colorado this afternoon on NBC Sports Network. (4 p.m., ET).

Here are five quick stories to follow as Arlo White and Kyle Martino provide the sounds from Major League Soccer’s most picturesque stadium setting.

  • Rapids striker Conor Casey remains unavailable, still recovering from last year’s Achilles tear. That means Omar Cummings must work double duty, although the Jamaican international never quite seems the same without Casey’s brute force to balance his speed. On the other hand, Jaime Castrillon had a sharp debut as the offensive focal point of coach Oscar Pareja’s 4-3-3. Keep an eye on him.
  • Union boss Peter Nowak has never been afraid to roll out a young squad. The Union roster’s average age is a shade over 23 years old. That’s also about the average age of his D.C. United roster back in the 2004 MLS Championship season. (That assembly was slightly skewed by Freddy Adu, who was 15 at the time.) Adu is 22 now, practically among the old men on Nowak’s budding squad.
  • Speaking of young: Union first-year starting goalkeeper Zac MacMath is just 20. He was fine in last week’s rainy loss to Portland, that one notorious moment as the exception.  So, we’ll see how he responds after a week to think about it. Left back Porfirio Lopez definitely has something to prove after being turned inside-out Monday by Portland’s Kalif Alhassan. (More on that and other Brotherly matters are here.)
  • I talked to Adu during the preseason. We talked about Nowak’s tough love and about their close relationship – they’ve been together a lot of years now two stints. He also told me he loves the classic No. 10 role, pulling the offensive strings while operating behind a striker. But that position doesn’t really exist in Nowak’s system, so Adu operates from closer to the wings. He says he’s OK with it, and I believe him. Still, not everyone believes that’s Adu’s ideal deployment.
  • The Union’s two-year record at home really is something, having lost just four times in 32 outings – truly excellent for a club just now in its third year of existence. But the Union are coming off a toughie. And Colorado is on the short list of teams having experienced success at PPL, with a draw in 2010 and a win in Chester last year. The Rapids chances improve if captain Pablo Mastroeni can play (it looks good right now) after last week’s concerning head injury. Either way, Rapids midfield rock (and usual Mastroeni partner) Jeff Larentowicz will be on the job.

USMNT: Brooks out with hip strain; World Cup qualifiers loom

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John Brooks is out of Hertha Berlin’s lineup “for the time being” after scans revealed a hip strain suffered in this weekend’s win over Wolfsburg.

That’s all Hertha has said, and that makes it hard to imagine whether American fans should be a little concerned or very concerned ahead of the USMNT’s World Cup qualifiers against Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago in early June.

Brooks was unavailable for two weeks with an adductor strain in September, missing a month before returning to the starting lineup.

The U.S. center back pool isn’t teeming after Brooks and Geoff Cameron. Matt Besler, Tim Ream, Omar Gonzalez, and Walker Zimmerman were called up for the last World Cup qualifiers, and Gonzalez struggled but is a Bruce Arena favorite from their time in L.A.

WATCH: Snazzy Sargent goal leads U.S. U-17s past Mexico

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Josh Sargent scored a pretty goal as the United States Soccer program had another banner day against Mexico.

Nearly two months to the day after the U.S. U-20 side beat Mexico for the first time in 31 years, the U.S. U-17 topped El Tri for the first time ever. That win snapped Mexico’s 25-match unbeaten streak.

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The goal is the first of Sargent’s two goals, as the 16-year-old latched onto a long diagonal ball and used his right foot and head to move the ball into position for a strong shot.

The U.S. clinches a spot in the next round of U-17 World Cup qualifying with one match remaining in group play.

Sargent is from St. Louis and plays with Scott Gallagher-Missouri. Former Philadelphia Union coach John Hackworth coaches the U.S. U-17s.

Heads of South American soccer sent $128M in bank transfers

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SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) The leaders of South America’s soccer confederation transferred $128.6 million between 2000 and 2015 to personal accounts, suspicious accounts, or unauthorized third-party accounts, according to an audit released Wednesday by Ernst & Young.

According to the audit presented to the annual CONMEBOL congress in the Chilean capital, the confederation’s former president Nicolas Leoz transferred $26.9 million to his personal accounts. Leoz was the president for 27 years until resigning in 2013 for what he said were health reasons.

The audit also found $58 million in payments “to third parties without adequate documentation,” payments of $33.3 million to “unidentified accounts,” and $10.4 million to “suspicious third-parties.”

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“We had said that we would have four pillars, and the first two pillars were clear accounts and accountability,” said Alejandro Dominguez, the president of CONMEBOL who commissioned the audit last year. “Today we are accountable to the leaders and the whole world of football.”

Leoz, 88, is one of three ex-presidents of CONMEBOL accused on corruption charges by the United States Department of Justice. He is in Paraguay fighting extradition to the United States.

The South American body has been plagued by corruption, which was exposed two years ago during the FIFA scandal. Leoz’s two successors, Eugenio Figueredo and Juan Angel Napout, were both arrested on corruption charges.

“I’m here, I’m the manager” – Moyes will not quit Sunderland

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This has been one horrible stretch for David Moyes.

The Sunderland manager probably thought he’d been through the worst once he left Real Sociedad, where he went 12-15-15.

But he’s managed just seven wins and seven draws in 38 matches in charge of the Black Cats — an 18 percent win mark. He’s also been charged for threatening to slap a female journalist.

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And after Wednesday, Moyes has lost both of his derby matches against Middlesbrough.

Sunderland is 12 points back of safety with five matches left. The odds the Black Cats are headed for the Championship are somewhere north of 99 percent, and fans are calling for his job.

Well, he isn’t quitting. From the BBC:

“No, I’m here, I’m the manager, you take it on the chin. … I’m a football supporter, I know what it’s like. You don’t like seeing your team lose.

“There is nobody who wants to win more than me. I am used to winning, I’m not used to losing and I don’t want to get used to it either.”