CONCACAF Champions League is important! It is … right?

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Just in case everyone isn’t clear, CONCACAF Champions League is important to Major League Soccer. About as important as properly inflated balls or sufficient supplies of beer in the stadium concession areas from the sound of it.

What MLS commissioner Don Garber told Sporting News in a recent interview:  “We’ve got to try to win that tournament. We’ve got to try to get to the world club championship. That’s got to be a priority.”

And what Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis said last Friday, immediately after a Western Conference-shaping win over Vancouver: “I’m ready. I’m ready right now to go home and scout Herediano and do everything we can so that we are very properly prepared. This is a big, big deal to our club, a big, big deal to our fans, and a huge deal to everybody in the locker room.”

So there. That’s one side. Me?

Success in any competition will help at a micro level. That is, it stirs up buzz and adds momentum for individual clubs.

But I must admit that I’m always a little skeptical about how much success in CONCACAF Champions League can assist over larger sweeps, how it would boost MLS in the league’s most pressing areas for growth.

(MORE: Champions League preview from Richard Farley)

Would an MLS club finally getting to the FIFA Club World Cup help boost league pride and prestige? Sure. Would a few more players from lands beyond put MLS on their personal “consider” list. Yeah, a few.

But would it significantly enhance TV ratings (and, subsequently, revenue during the next round of network talks)? Nah.

Would it help D.C. United get a stadium? Highly unlikely. Would it encourage New England ownership to expedite its stadium initiative, or further encourage Chivas USA to develop a brand identity that works? I think we know better.

Would it boost attendance in markets that continue to tread water, like Chivas USA, Columbus, Dallas, Colorado and New England? Only if one of them won it.

Would it help MLS gin up awareness in the dozens of U.S. mid-sized markets where so precious little exists? (Go ask people in Austin or Albuquerque or Atlanta about MLS.)

Would it assist in efforts to improve the refereeing standard here and in Canada, which would boost the overall quality (and appeal) of matches? Nope.

Would it further improve the youth development mechanisms or add money required to further enhance the reserve team elements? Doubtful.

But that’s just me. Plenty of people feel differently. Obviously.

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.

[ MORE: Burnley moves into top four after win over Stoke ]

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.