ProSoccerTalk’s daily soccer re-set

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Soccer birthdays:

Multi-media sports dude Bill Simmons, friend to soccer, friend in sports to Every Fan, turns 43 today. He once went through a prolonged process of picking a team in England to support. If you never saw it, do so now.

Longtime Bayern Munich and Germany star Karl-Heinz Rummenigge turns 57.

Big Important Stories of the Day:

In England, third round play begins today in the Capital One Cup. That’s the tournament formerly known as the Carling Cup. Which, of course, was the competition formerly known as the League Cup.

But no matter how many times they change the name, the money clubs in England are not going to care anymore than they do now. It is what it is.

In the bigger matches today, Wolves are at Chelsea, Coventry City is at Arsenal, Everton is at Leeds and Spurs are at Carlisle United.

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day): Jan Van Beveren (r.i.p.)

*Ahead on the blog today:  Major League Soccer rankings will drop around noon-ish. We’ll have that look at Federico Higuain’s decreasing output with the Columbus Crew (promised yesterday but undelivered).

And we’ve got some thoughts on Rafa Marquez and whether the Red Bulls are better with or without him.

Twitter daps:

(Friends around the media edition)

source:

What you should watch on TV today:

Bayern Munich-Wolfsburg (2 p.m. ET) and Frankfurt-Borussia Dortmund (4 p.m. ET) if you have GolTV.

You get Leeds-Everton in the Capital One Cup (2:40 p.m.) if you happen to get beIN Sport.

If the MLS playoffs started today (following 28 rounds):

Eastern Conference

(Wildcard round)

  • Houston vs. D.C. United

(Second round)

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

Western Conference:

(Wildcard round)

  • Seattle vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

(Second Round)

  • San Jose vs. Wildcard winner
  • Real Salt Lake vs. L.A. Galaxy

PST background noise while blogging today: I’ve been banging on YouTube lately, finding old concert footage of bands from another day. I’m too embarrassed to tell you which ones (although I will say this: yesterday I found some kick-ass footage from Farm Aid, if you remember that precious bit from way back.)

We’ll leave you with this:  See what we’ve done? This is what happens when we lack officials who are up to standard, when we have a bunch who are ill prepared to properly handle the job before them.  I’m talking about NFL, of course, and the hideous, ongoing unraveling of game-day credibility. … Or am I?

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

WATCH: Camila’s wicked swerving goal for Brazil

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The Tournament of Nations got underway earlier Thursday, with Brazil and Japan drawing 1-1 in Seattle.

While some in the crowd may’ve been waiting to see the United States women’s national team and Australia in the second game of the twin bill, they got an absolute treat from Brazil’s Camila.

[ MORE: Galaxy’s season-changing signing ]

The Orlando Pride midfielder is yet to scoop up 10 caps, but blasted this 25-yard goal home with a wicked outside bend.

The aesthetics are terrific.

LA Galaxy’s second Dos Santos signing is a season-changer

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Remember this day, MLS fans, as one that perhaps helped determine an MLS Cup Finalist.

The LA Galaxy have signed Villarreal midfielder and Mexican national teamer Jonathan Dos Santos, and he’s the sort of player who could alter the landscape of the Western Conference.

Like Nicolas Lodeiro to Seattle last season and New England’s addition of Jermaine Jones in 2014, Dos Santos’ move comes with the distinct possibility of elevating LA into the next stratosphere.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

Take the Galaxy’s history of winning, and toss in a midseason coaching improvement from Curt Onalfo to Sigi Schmid, as well as MVP-in-their-own-right caliber teammates Giovani Dos Santos, Romain Alessandrini, and Jelle van Damme.

Don’t sleep on the fact that Schmid might be gathering momentum from inheriting a talented and underachieving roster and a brand new game-changing midfielder, which feels a bit like karmic retribution for Seattle firing him and signing Lodeiro the next day last season. Seattle only went and won the MLS Cup.

Schmid has used any number of formations, but could deploy a 4-3-3 with Jona Dos Santos, Jermaine Jones, and Joao Pedro in the midfielder and Giovani Dos Santos, Alessandrini, and Gyasi Zardes up top (Sebastian Lletget could return at some point, too).

Now FC Dallas is very deep, Sporting KC looks powerful, and Seattle won it all last year — plus, may be adding Derlis Gonzalez?!? — but LA’s move to add Dos Santos creates a quartet of teams with proven mettle (Houston looks decent, too, but I have concerns about their first-time as a unit in the playoffs).

Joey Barton’s gambling ban lowered by almost 5 months

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Joey Barton’s 18-month ban for betting on almost 1,300 soccer-related events has been lowered to 13 months and one week.

Putting aside the hilarity of grown men and women discussing whether an extra week was necessary, the alteration means he’ll be eligible to return to football on June 1, 2018.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

While that still hampers the idea of the 34-year-old playing again — he’ll be 36 when the ban ends — it’s a significant change if he’s open to the idea of returning to the game.

Barton’s original ban expired in late October 2018, well into a season. From Sky Sports:

The appeal board also agreed: “It was clear that Mr Barton was not involved in any cheating, he did not influence any games and there was nothing suspicious about his bets.

“(The reduction) reflects the overall seriousness of the breaches and also the mitigation of Mr Barton’s addiction.”

Barton’s remarkably controversial career has including several suspensions and imprisonment, but he always found his way back to the field and was very good when in form. After time at Manchester City and Newcastle United, Barton fended off naysayers with stints at QPR, Marseille, Burnley, and a regrettable move to Rangers.

We may see him on the field in August 2018.

FIFA fines Qatar after players’ political support for Emir

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has fined Qatar’s soccer federation after national team players breached rules against political statements by displaying T-shirts of the country’s Emir at a World Cup qualifier.

FIFA says its disciplinary panel imposed a 50,000 Swiss francs ($51,800) fine and reprimanded Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host.

[ MORE: Nainggolan staying at Roma ]

The incident happened in Doha on June 13, amid a dispute with regional rivals Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Qatar’s players warmed up for a 3-2 win over South Korea wearing white T-shirts with an image of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to show their support for him.

FIFA says the charges related to “displaying a political image” and “political displays” by spectators.