ProSoccerTalk’s daily soccer re-set

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Soccer birthdays:  It’s a big day for the French. So grab a croissant, put on beret and spin some Edith Piaf vinyl as you celebrate Arsenal man Laurent Koscielny, who has never quite enshrined himself on the French national team, on his 27th birthday.

And save room for an aperitif to celebrate as  Jérémy Toulalan, whose best days came on some of those highly respected Lyon sides of the last decade, turns 29. Toulalan is now with Malaga in Spain.

Big Important Stories of the Day:Last practice day for the United States prior to Tuesday’s back half of the Jamaican double. The same that met Friday in Kingston now gather in Columbus, Ohio. A United States tie would create some extremely nervous and dicey circumstances for the remaining two World Cup semifinal round qualifiers.

A loss at Crew Stadium? Katy bar the door! That would be a total, unequivocal disaster, pouring misery on top of pressure on top of blistering media and supporter excoriation. The United States could still make the World Cup at that point – but I would require two wins and possibly some help. Talk about cutting it close!

So, uh … go get ‘em boys!

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day): Esse Baharmast

Twitter daps:

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*Ahead on the blog today: How did everyone enjoy their latest WoSLS? That is, Weekend of Sadly Little Soccer?  Personally, I’ll take a pass on many more like this one.

So, there will be no MLS Team of the Week or MLS Player of the Week – although we will have news from around the league. And, of course, we’ll see what’s happening with Jurgen Klinsmann’s national team.

If the MLS playoffs started today (following 27 rounds):

Eastern Conference

(Wildcard round)

Columbus at Chicago

(Second round)

Sporting Kansas City vs. Wildcard winner

New York  Red Bulls vs. Houston

Western Conference:

(Wildcard round)

Vancouver Whitecaps at L.A. Galaxy

(Second Round)

San Jose vs. Wildcard winner

Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle

What you should watch on TV today:Brazil meets China in a friendly at 9 p.m. ET. GOL TV is your TV destination for that one.

*Always subject to change; you know how it is…

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The view from Alex Morgan’s seat Sunday at the U.S. Open women’s singles final. (Way to go, Alex! Nice seat – fit for an Olympic Gold Medalist.)

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U.S. Open Cup roundup: Poku lifts Miami; Red Bulls, Cincy win on PKs

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While MLS represents the majority of the remaining clubs in this year’s U.S. Open Cup, one side continues to defy the odds.

[ MORE: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson ]

Miami FC reached their first quarterfinal in club history after knocking off Atlanta United late on Wednesday, behind a goal and an assist from Kwadwo Poku. The victory for Miami sets up a date with FC Cincinnati — who pulled off an unbelievable shootout win against the Chicago Fire.

Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution both advanced on the night with wins over the Philadelphia Union and D.C. United, respectively. The Red Bulls and Revs will meet in the final eight as well.

Sporting KC kept its hope of hoisting a fourth U.S. Open Cup title alive on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. The 2015 winners will take on FC Dallas — who defeated the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday night.

Here are all the results from tonight’s Open Cup action.

Houston Dynamo 0-2 Sporting KC
New England Revolution 2-1 D.C. United
Miami FC 3-2 Atlanta United
New York Red Bulls 1-1 (5-3 on PKs) Philadelphia Union
FC Cincinnati 0-0 (3-1 on PKs) Chicago Fire
San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 Seattle Sounders
LA Galaxy 2-0 Sacramento Republic

Report: City Football Group set to expand outreach with Girona deal

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City Football Group appears on the verge of adding to its global outreach, and it’s next destination looks to be in Spain.

[ MORE: Are Southampton’s days of selling behind the club? ]

The group of investors, which are known for controlling Premier League side Manchester City, are reportedly nearing a deal to purchase a partial stake in Spanish club Girona — which is set to make its La Liga debut in 2017/18.

CFG is said to be gaining a near “50 percent” stake in the club, with the rest of the club owned by Media Base, a company owned by Pep Guardiola‘s brother, Pere.

Over recent years, CFG has vastly expanded its ownership outreach and currently has a stake in five clubs around the world, with Girona set to be the sixth.

MLS side New York City FC, Australian A-League side Melbourne City FC, Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos and Club Atletico Torque in Uruguay are all part of the CFG enterprise, alongside Man City.

New York Red Bulls ink goalkeeper Luis Robles to new deal

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The “Iron Man” will keep up his amazing journey with the New York Red Bulls, after signing a new deal with the club on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder on verge of joining Los Angeles FC ]

Goalkeeper Luis Robles has extended his contract with the reigning Eastern Conference champions, as the American continues to raise his consecutive starts streak, which stands at 157.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed in the club’s release.

Robles joined the Red Bulls back in 2012 after playing in Germany, and the shot-stopper hasn’t missed a start ever since.

Report: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson

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Minnesota United has had its shares of ups and down in its debut MLS season, but the Loons are on the verge making an exciting young signing.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder closing in on Los Angeles FC move ]

ESPN FC is reporting that Minnesota will sign Hearts winger Sam Nicholson from the Scottish Premier League on a deal that makes him a Loon until 2019.

The young attacker is expected to join the MLS side when the summer transfer window opens on July 10.

Nicholson, 22, has played with the Edinburgh side since his youth days, and made his senior debut with the club in 2013. During his time at Hearts, Nicholson scored 16 goals in all competitions for the team.

Last season, Nicholson missed 16 matches due to a significant knee injury.

According to the report, Scottish sides Rangers and Aberdeen were also among those interested in acquiring Nicholson, while English Championship clubs Bristol City and Barnsley also reached out about the attacker.