ProSoccerTalk daily soccer re-set

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Birthdays of Note: Go through the top strikers from the beginning of the century and there are few who put together better careers than Henrik Larsson. The former Sweden captain averaged over 30 goals per season for Celtic from 2000-01 to 2003-04, eventually moving to Barcelona, where he won a European title. Internationally, Larsson participated in three World Cups and accumulated 37 goals in 106 appearances, guiding Sweden to a third place finish in World Cup 1994.

Along the way, Larsson accumulated a reputation for being one of the classier strikers in the world, a term that served as a short hand for there are so many things that make him great – from skill to production to attitude – we’re just going use a single word and pretend everybody knows what we’re talking about.

Larsson turns 41 today.

Big Important Story of the Day: Although we’ve got MLS and CONCACAF Champions League tonight (as well as the start of Europa League), most of today’s big stories are going to look back to Wednesday: Digesting UEFA Champions League, and reflecting on Pia Sundhage’s impact on the U.S. women’s national team.

Twitter Daps: The Pia edition:

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What we should all be watching on TV: DC United is in Philadelphia today, ESPN2 having the broadcast honors. Still adjusting to life without Dwayne De Rosario, points like tonights’ are crucial if Ben Olsen’s squad’s going to claim a spot in the East’s top five.

A little later, Houston will be welcoming FAS to BBVA Compass Field Stadium Arena. FOX Soccer has the honors.

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day): Mark Dodd

If the MLS playoffs started today (after Wednesday’s results):

Eastern Conference

(Wildcard round)

  • Houston vs. Columbus (D.C. United dropping out)

(Second round)

  • Sporting Kansas City vs. Wildcard winner
  • Chicago vs. New York Red Bulls

Western Conference:

(Wildcard round)

  • Real Salt Lake vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

(Second Round)

  • San Jose vs. Wildcard winner
  • Seattle vs. L.A. Galaxy

PST background noise while blogging today: I keep replaying this weekend’s Saturday Night Live (host Seth McFarlane and Keenan Tompson, pictured), but only three sketches: Lids, puppet class, and Weekend Update. We’ll see if the show eventually misses Kirsten Wiig and Andy Samberg, but after one week, so far, so good. (And please, spare everybody the obligatory Saturday Night Live used to be good, but now it’s not comment. That critique has literally been around since Season 2. It’s now Season 38.)

Bundesliga wrap: Dortmund wins in Stoger’s managerial debut

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For the first time since late September, Borussia Dortmund has won a league match, while Leipzig’s slip up opens the door for Bayern Munich to extend its lead in Germany’s top flight.

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

Here’s a brief look at all of Tuesday’s Bundesliga action.

Mainz 0-2 Borussia Dortmund

10 points separates Dortmund from league leaders Bayern Munich, who also have a match in hand, but for the moment, the bleeding his stopped. BVB picked up a crucial win on Tuesday to end its domestic woes upon manager Peter Stoger’s debut. The side’s drought stretched over an eight-match winless period. Second-half goals from Sokratis and Shinji Kagawa moved Dortmund into the top four, while Mainz remains 15th in the league table.

 

Wolfsburg 1-1 Red Bull Leipzig

Meanwhile, RB Leipzig’s form continues to slide downward after the second-place side dropped points in its fourth straight match across all competitions. The road side’s fortunes were dampened early on when Paul Verhaegh converted from the penalty spot, however, Marcel Halstenberg did manage to pull a goal back for Leipzig in the 52nd minute. Leipzig’s misfortunes carried on in stoppage time though when Dayot Upamecano was sent off after picking up his second yellow card of the day.


The rest of Tuesday’s scores

Hamburg 1-2 Frankfurt
Freiburg 1-0 Borussia Monchengladbach

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.