ProSoccerTalk’s daily soccer re-set

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Soccer birthdays:

Remember when everyone got excited to find out that German-born David Yelldell was eligible to play for the United States. Then we all realized there must be a reason that he had never quite moved past the German lower leagues. At any rate, Yelldell turns 31 on Monday.

Malaga attacker Júlio César Baptista, a Brazilian international, turns 31 as well.

Juventus and Montenegro international Mirko Vucinic turns 29.

Finally, 1995 FIFA World Player of the Year George Weah (pictured) turns 46. Today, Weah is a politician and humanitarian who in 2004 won an Arthur Ashe Courage Award for his efforts.

Big Important Stories of the Day:

We should find out more today about Galaxy center back A.J. DeLaGarza, who needed to be helped into the locker room in the first half of last night’s L.A.-Colorado contest. This won’t be the devastating defensive blow that Omar Gonzalez’s los earlier this year was to the champs – but it’s not ideal, for sure. DeLaGarza is easily the best central partner Bruce Arena has to pair with Gonzalez.

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day): Kerry Zavagnin

*Ahead on the blog today: MLS Team of the Week and MLS Player of the Week. (There are a couple of good candidates, including three-goal man Alvaro Saborio and three-assist man Thierry Henry, who also threw in a goal in at the end. Anybody? Anybody?) Plus, a whole bunch of other stuff. You should probably check back. A lot.

Twitter daps:

source:

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

Eastern Conference

(Wildcard round)

  • Houston at D.C. United

(Second round)

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

Western Conference:

(Wildcard round)

  • Vancouver Whitecaps at Seattle

(Second Round)

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

PST background noise while blogging today: For the first day of Rock-tober, it’s got to be music. Probably go with KGSR out of Austin.

We’ll leave you with this: After his team put a serious 4-1 whuppin’ on Toronto FC, Red Bulls manager Hans Backe took time (out of nowhere) to complain about the Red Bull Arena Field. Said it was the probably “the worst pitch in the league.”  Hmmm.  What’s that man got up his Swedish sleeve? Trying to get Chicago thinking about it before the Fire’s upcoming visit?  Trying add some pressure on team officials to spend a little more green on the RBA green? Let’s watch this one.

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

Former Czech Republic defender Rajtoral kills himself

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PRAGUE (AP) Former Czech Republic defender Frantisek Rajtoral, who won the domestic league title four times before joining Turkish club Gaziantepspor, died on Sunday. He was 31.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alex Sanchez this weekend ]

The Czech football federation said in a statement that Rajtoral had “committed suicide in Turkey.”

His agent Pavel Zika confirmed the player’s death, describing it as a “huge tragedy.”

Gaziantepspor announced Rajtoral’s death in a brief statement on its website.

Rajtoral played 14 international matches for the Czech Republic.

In the top Czech league, he won four titles with Viktoria Plzen and played in the group stage of the Champions League twice for the club. He moved to Hannover in the Bundesliga in 2014 for half of the season, on loan.

He left Viktoria Plzen last year to move to Turkey.

Bellerin wants to represent Spain U21s despite Wenger’s wishes

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Arsene Wenger has made it clear about Hector Bellerin representing Spain this summer but the Arsenal defender is prepared to go against his manager’s wishes if he is selected.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alexis Sanchez over the weekend ]

The 22-year-old has said he hopes to play for Spain’s Under-21 side this summer during the 2017 European U-21 Championship but Wenger has been weary of Bellerin’s injury status and wants his fullback to maintain a clean bill of health throughout the offseason.

“I really want to play,” Bellerin told IBTimes. “Representing Spain is very important. If [Albert] Celades gives me the chance I’ll be there.

“Those are opinions of the managers. I have to keep working. The truth is that I had a difficult injury but I think that I am at 100% now and I’ll try to prove it when I get the chance.”

Bellerin signed a six-and-a-half year deal with the Gunners in November, where he has resided since coming up in the club’s academy. He has made 102 appearances for Wenger’s team in that span over all competitions.

Roma boosts bid for 2nd in Serie A by beating Pescara 4-1

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PESCARA, Italy (AP) Roma boosted its bid for second place in Serie A and automatic entry into the Champions League with a 4-1 win at Pescara, which was mathematically relegated on Monday.

[ MORE: Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League ]

Roma moved four points clear of third-placed Napoli, which drew against Sassuolo 2-2 on Sunday. Third place in Serie A receives a Champions League playoff.

Pescara remained 15 points behind Empoli. There are only five matches left and Empoli has the better head-to-head record, which is the deciding factor if two teams finish level on points.

There were 48 goals in total in the 33rd round, matching the record set in October 1992.

Roma took control shortly before halftime, with Kevin Strootman breaking the deadlock after Stephan El Shaarawy unselfishly rolled the ball across the area.

Radja Nainggolan, who earlier hit the bar, doubled Roma’s lead two minutes later.

Mohamed Salah extended Roma’s advantage three minutes after the break and the winger doubled his tally on the hour following a swift counterattack.

Ahmad Benali got a consolation for Pescara and a Cristiano Biraghi free kick also hit the post for the home side.

Frank Yallop resigns as Phoenix Rising coach shortly after Drogba arrival

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The timing is a bit sudden and certainly leaves many questions up in the air, but Phoenix Rising will have to look for a new manager.

[ MORE: Chicharito talks heating up with LA FC ]

On Monday, head coach Frank Yallop resigned from his position with the United Soccer League (USL) club less than one day after former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba joined the organization as a player-owner.

With Phoenix seen as one of several lower-level clubs with ambitions of making the leap to MLS over the coming seasons, Yallop’s departure is surely a shock to many.

According to ESPN FC, Rising lead owner Berke Bakay was quite surprised by Yallop’s decision to step down, as was Drogba.

“Didier was as surprised and disappointed as we were that Frank is unable to continue coaching our Club,” Bakay told ESPN FC. “But, we all respect his decision to put his family first.

“Didier’s focus will remain on improving our team as a player and assisting our MLS expansion team ownership group as a co-owner. Frank will be helping with our international search for a new head coach.”

Rick Schantz, the current Rising assistant coach, will head the team’s managerial duties for the interim while the club completes a full search for a new manager.