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.)

Transfer rumor roundup: Schurrle to Newcastle, Spurs

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A new name has emerged on the loan market, as Borussia Dortmund forward Andre Schurrle is reportedly being made available for the second half of the Premier League season.

[ WATCH: Full PL match replays ]

Newcastle United reportedly leads the pack for the former Chelsea scorer, who is struggling to get time at BVB thanks to a glut of fantastic wingers including Christian Pulisic.

Magpies boss Rafa Benitez has a good relationship with the Westfalenstadion set, having taken Mikel Merino off their hands in August. Newcastle currently uses Christian Atsu on the left wing and Matt Ritchie on the right, but Schurrle can play center forward and Benitez may prefer to use the 27-year-old in the middle of his trident.

But they’ll face competition, and HITC says BVB is willing to pay half of his wages on an 18-month deal to keep him reasonable for some clubs. This could be a boon for Spurs.

Newcastle and Stoke City have also been linked with Galatasaray midfielder Papa “Badou” Ndiaye, with the Magpies said to have bid just a bit higher than the Potters but still under Gala’s buyout clause.

And here’s a wild one, according to ESPN: Chelsea’s rumored pursuit of current Premier League scorers now includes Marko Arnautovic. The audacious Austrian attacker cost West Ham around $35 million when his head was turned from Stoke City in the summer.

He didn’t perform well but Slaven Bilic, but David Moyes has been able to get some fine performances from the powerful Arnautovic. Chelsea has previously been linked with West Ham teammate Andy Carroll, Burnley’s Ashley Barnes, and Stoke’s Peter Crouch as it attempts to find a center forward to ease the burden placed on Alvaro Morata in his first Premier League season.

World Cup winner, England legend Armfield passes away at 82

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1966 World Cup champion Jimmy Armfield has died at the age of 82.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

Voted “the best right back” in Europe between 1962-64, the former England and Blackpool captain also had a successful management and broadcasting career.

Armfield was a member of the 1962 and 1966 World Cup squads, though a toe injury kept him from his place in the starting lineup when England won the tournament.

He spent his entire playing career with Blackpool before managing Bolton Wanderers to promotion and Leeds United to the European Cup Final, righting the ship after Brian Clough’s infamous spell in charge of the club.

There’s a statue outside Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road, and the club legend has a stand named after him inside the venue.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Julie Ertz scores in USWNT win, discovers good Eagles news after

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Whoever scheduled the U.S. Women’s National Team’s friendly against Denmark at the same time as the NFC Championship Game on Sunday night should really consider the Ertz family in the future.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup — Auba to Arsenal, Man City tracking Evans, Fred ]

While noted USWNT defender Julie Ertz and her team cruised past the Danes in a 5-1 victory, her husband, Zach, was playing a hand in the Philadelphia Eagles’ progression to the NFL’s Super Bowl.

With Julie not knowing what to expect following her team’s match, find out how she took the news of her husband’s triumph in the video below.

While Zach’s night was certainly a memorable one for many reasons, it was Julie that arguably had the better performance — which included a goal in the 19th minute off of a close-range volley.

The USWNT had trailed through 14 minutes, but a combination of goals from Alex Morgan and Ertz in a span of two minutes quickly erased the deficit.

For Morgan, it was her 80th goal for the Stars and Stripes.

Meanwhile, a second-half brace from teenage sensation Mallory Pugh and Crystal Dunn’s finish with nine minutes to play proved to be the icing on the cake for Jill Ellis’ side, who kicked off 2018 with a bang.

Report: LA FC near deal for Honduras goalkeeper Luis Lopez

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As this year’s MLS newcomers aim to fill out the rest of their roster, Los Angeles FC appears close to adding a goalkeeper.

[ SOURCES: Jack Harrison expected to sign for Stoke this winter ]

Reports out of Honduras have stated that Luis Lopez is close to signing with the expansion side, which will suit up for manager Bob Bradley starting in March.

The 24-year-old Lopez most recently played for Real Espana in Honduras’ top flight, who won the league’s Aperatura season. Real currently sits third through one match to start the Clausura season.

At the moment, LA FC has just one other goalkeeper on its roster, former Seattle Sounders keeper Tyler Miller.

Additionally, the Real Espana goalkeeper has made 12 appearances for the Honduras national team.