Daniele de Rossi’s going to play central defense for Italy? It looks that way.

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The idea of Italy head coach Cesare Prandelli going 3-5-2 for Euro 2012 has been floating around for a while. His personnel  forces the consideration, and after the Azzurri was smoked by Russia on Friday (losing 3-0), Prandelli seems ready to shake things up.

In truth, the change is motivated less by the Russia result than the availability of Andrea Barzagli. The Juventus defender has picked up a calf problem that could sideline him through group stage.

With natural central defender Giorgio Chiellini potentially moving left to cover for the absence of Domenico Criscito (who is not being let back into the team), the pickings are becoming slim in the middle. However, if Italy went 3-5-2, they could use Daniele de Rossi in central defense.

De Rossi just finished a season playing the Sergio Busquets role in the Barcelona-esque system Luis Enrique tried to install at the Stadio Olimpico. He also spent some time doing a Javier Mascherano impression in central defense.

The change is not even as drastic as all that makes it out. The 3-5-2, as Prandelli would implement it, is little more than the attacking shape you’d get with de Rossi at the base of a 4-4-2 applied to other phases of the game. Right wing back Christian Maggio and proposed left wing back Federico Balzaretti would become fullbacks in the defensive phase, with Chiellini and (potentially) Torino’s Angelo Ogbonna supporting de Rossi.

Beyond the Barzagli motivation, there switch could serve a couple of other purposes. First, Italy’s first opponent in Euro 2012 is Spain, against whom a 3-5-2 would have a number of virtues: three-man midfield (and, in general, more players in the middle of the park); getting another great person on the ball in the back line; providing more ways to maintain the possession advantage Italy’s become accustomed to (and may need to advance). Second, it would allow Prandelli to maintain a more natural shape in midfield, with Riccardo Montolivo and Antonio Noccerino supporting Andrea Pirlo. Forcing de Rossi into the midfield throws off the balance.

Then again, Prandelli could just be preparing for Spain, using all this formation speculation to provide a smoke screen.

ProSoccerTalk is doing its best to keep you up to date on what’s going on in Poland and Ukraine. Check out the site’s Euro 2012 page and look at the site’s previews, predictions, and coverage of all the events defining UEFA’s championship.

Inter beats 3rd-division Pordenone 5-4 on penalties in Cup

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MILAN (AP) Inter Milan scraped into the Italian Cup quarterfinals after the Serie A leader was taken to penalties by third-division Pordenone on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Chelsea tops Huddersfield, moves level on points with Man United ]

Pordenone goalkeeper Simone Perilli pulled off several saves in regulation time to keep the game scoreless, and he almost proved to be the hero during the shootout, stopping two penalties.

But Inter prevailed 5-4, with Yuto Nagatomo tucking away the final spot kick.

Both sides hit the woodwork during the 120 minutes.

Inter coach Luciano Spalletti rang the changes, and only Milan Skriniar and Matias Vecino remained in the starting 11 from Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Juventus.

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However, he was forced by desperation to bring on Marcelo Brozovic at halftime as well as star forwards Ivan Perisic and Mauro Icardi.

Report: Cosmos coach Savarese to be named new Timbers manager

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In a time where NASL’s status moving forward is hanging in the balance, one of the league’s top managers is set to make the jump to Major League Soccer.

[ MORE: LA FC close to acquiring Red Bulls captain Sacha Kljestan ]

According to ESPN soccer analyst Taylor Twellman, New York Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese is set to be named the next Portland Timbers manager.

Savarese will take over for the recently departed Caleb Porter, who stepped down from his head coaching role with the Timbers in November.

The former professional player spent five seasons in MLS during his career, including stints with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars (now the Red Bulls), as well as the New England Revolution and the San Jose Earthquakes.

The 46-year-old has managed the Cosmos from 2013 to present, and guided the NASL side to three Soccer Bowl titles in that span.

Report: LA FC close to acquiring Red Bulls captain Sacha Kljestan

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First Dax McCarty ahead of the 2017 season, and now Sacha Kljestan?

It seems as though the New York Red Bulls could be on the verge of trading away yet another club captain this offseason.

[ MORE: LA FC continues active offseason with addition of Laurent Ciman ]

According to Metro, Los Angeles FC is close to trading for Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan.

The U.S. Men’s National Team attacker has led Major League Soccer in assists over the last two seasons, and has served as an integral piece in the Red Bulls midfield since joining the club in 2015.

The Red Bulls made Kljestan club captain ahead of the 2017 season when former midfielder Dax McCarty was traded away to the Chicago Fire in exchange for allocation money.

Kljestan spent the first five seasons of his MLS career with now-defunct side Chivas USA, before playing in Europe Belgian club Anderlecht.

LA FC continues active offseason with addition of Laurent Ciman

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It seems like Major League Soccer’s latest expansion team is taking a page out of Atlanta United’s playbook in its buildup to the 2018 season.

[ MORE: NYCFC provides stadium details for Belmont proposal ]

After selecting five players in Tuesday’s MLS Expansion Draft, Los Angeles FC announced that it will be sending two of those players to the Montreal Impact.

LA FC will be sending Jukka Raitala and Raheem Edwards to the Impact.

The return? Bob Bradley and LA FC will acquire Impact center back Laurent Ciman — who has proven to be one of the best defenders in MLS since arriving in 2015.

“Laurent is a top defender who provides leadership and great distribution,” Bradley said upon acquiring Ciman. “His experience in the league and with the Belgian National Team will be invaluable as we build our club.”

With the addition of Ciman now in place, LA FC has built a strong central defensive partnership after the club also brought in former FC Dallas defender Walker Zimmerman in a trade on Sunday.

The expansion side already made a major splash with its first Designated Player signing this year, bringing in Mexican international Carlos Vela.