Five-a-side: illumination for tonight’s DC United-Dallas clash

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Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at RFK Stadium; Arlo White and Kyle Martino have the call on NBC Sports Network.

  • When 100 percent healthy, Dallas’ attack would include Blas Perez at the top, David Ferreira in a free role underneath, Brek Shea doing his thing on the left and Fabian Castillo, defensive liability though he is, speeding up and down the right channel. Except that Ferreira is coming up one the year anniversary of his ever-more-serious ankle injury, still not back on the field. Shea may have a reduced role tonight given his recent return from the taxing Olympic schedule. And Castillo has now been ruled out with a knee injury. Oh, and Ferreira’s replacement, Ricardo Villar, is hobbled too, although he may play. So there you go.
  • D.C. United is hobbled in its own way; some big names have been a little slow to gain traction in the 2012 campaign. The Black and Red have one goal this year, that by promising rookie Nick DeLeon. Meanwhile, DP forwards Dwayne De Rosario and Hamdi Salihi and DP playmaker Branko Boskovic are looking for their first goal or assist of 2012. And the entire team remains in search of its first win; the side comes in at 0-2-1, seventh among 10 teams in the East.
  • Somehow, we’re still talking about De Rosario’s optimum tactical deployment. It seems like everyone had settled on “De Ro” as a second striker, operating underneath Salihi. (For the historical arc of De Ro’s strategic use, see this Talking Tactics piece from last year.) But we’re all spinning the wheel on this one once again because De Rosario was back in the midfield last week against Vancouver. If Boskovic can’t cut it in MLS (an increasingly fair question), then midfield creating may fall on De Rosario, even if that’s not his ideal use.
  • Just as Shea has returned to Dallas from Olympic duty, Perry Kitchen and goalkeeper Bill Hamid are back with Ben Olsen’s crew. Kitchen never looked particularly troubled or out of place along the American back line (although no one truly shined back there). Ideally, he would get a little rest, but an injury to Marcelo Saragosa may force the MLS sophomore onto the field. For United, Kitchen plays holding midfielder. Meanwhile, Hamid’s ankle injury will keep him out of the lineup; backup Joe Willis’ solid play makes that less of a concern.
  • While Olsen sorts out his best arrangement of attackers, the choices for FC Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman are along the back line. He has three quality center backs in Ugo Ihemelu, George John and newcomer Hernan Pertuz, who has done little wrong in his first three MLS accounts. Pertuz played on the left last week because he was a better defensive option against Kansas City’s stacked attack. But Jair Benitez gives the team so much more offensive push up the left side, and Hyndman is an offensive push kind of guy. So he’s got to decide between John and Pertuz as Ihemelu’s central mate.

Relevant stat: D.C. United is 7-17-9 at home since 2009.

First pick Joao Moutinho scores first LAFC goal in preseason

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Los Angeles FC will need all of its new assets to contribute as the club looks to find its footing in MLS during its inaugural season.

That includes the team’s first-ever MLS SuperDraft selection, who is already paying big dividends for the expansion team.

Former University of Akron defender Joao Moutinho scored the lone goal for LAFC during Sunday’s 1-0 preseason friendly win over USL side Sacramento Republic FC.

Moutinho, who has primarily played left back for LAFC during preseason, shot down the left side of the pitch in the 60th minute before blasting a low shot into the far corner.

The defender is no stranger to finding the back of the net though, after scoring three goals and adding five assists last year in his lone campaign at the University of Akron.

Henry: Arsenal job would be a “dream for me”

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Thierry Henry remains a legend within the ranks of Arsenal, and the former striker says it would “be a dream” if he were to grab hold of the reigns at the London club.

[ MORE: Guardiola hails Man City as trophy haul begins ]

The Frenchman is currently a commentator in England and an assistant manager for the Belgium national team, however, the ex-Gunner clearly has his sights set on becoming the lead man at Arsenal one day.

“It would be a dream for me,” Henry told Sky Sports. “Interested [in the job]? Yes. Who wouldn’t be?

“But I can’t talk about it because of the respect that I have for the man in charge still, and my job that I’m doing with Belgium right now.”

Long-time manager Arsene Wenger and Henry have remained close for many years, even after Henry exited the Premier League giants, and it would likely take the former to step down from his position for Henry to have a shot at nabbing the job.

Wenger has been in charge at the Emirates Stadium since 1996, and has won three Premier League titles in that span, to go along with the rest of his club’s silverware.

UEFA bans Samir Nasri six months for IV treatment

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Former Premier League midfielder Samir Nasri has been banned for six months by European governing body UEFA for receiving an intravenous drip treatment in Los Angeles, California in December 2016.

[ MORE: Guardiola hails Man City as trophy haul begins ]

During the time in question, Nasri was on loan from Manchester City with Spanish side Sevilla.

Nasri reportedly received the treatment upon an initial diagnosis from his ex-girlfriend Dr. Sarabjit Anand. He later traveled to LA for the treatment, where a private medical company known as the Drip Doctors, set up the IV drip for Nasri.

The IV was said to have contained sterile water containing 50 milliliters of micronutrient components, which given in an infusion over the span of six hours is considered illegal by the World Anti-doping Agency.

Nasri is without a club at this time, after last appearing for Turkish club Antalyaspor in January. The 30-year-old left the side this winter after making just eight appearances in all competitions.

PSG suffers big blow as Neymar stretchered off against Marseille

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With an important run of fixtures upcoming, including a UEFA Champions League date with Real Madrid, the Parisians received disappointing news on Sunday.

[ MORE: Guardiola hails Man City as trophy haul begins ]

Despite picking up a 3-0 victory against Marseille, Paris Saint-Germain suffered a massive blow in the second stanza after Neymar was stretchered off the pitch with a right leg injury in the 81st minute.

The Brazilian international appeared to twist his ankle upon landing on the ground after going in for a challenge, although there was no contact when the attacker went down in agony.

Minutes after suffering the apparent ankle injury, Neymar was carried off the field on a stretcher by medical staff, raising questions about his availability in the coming weeks.

PSG faces a crucial run of matches, including Wednesday’s French Cup match against Marseille and their second leg UCL fixture against Real Madrid.

Unai Emery and his side currently trail 3-1 against Los Blancos, as the tie heads back to Paris for the second meeting.

This season, Neymar has tallied 28 goals in all competitions for the Parisians, including six finishes in the UCL, so his potential absence would be a huge blow to PSG’s hopes of advancing to the quarterfinals.