ProSoccerTalk’s daily soccer re-set

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Soccer birthdays:

U.S. international Edgar Castillo, notable because he played three times for Mexico before then playing for the United States, turns 26 today.

And since I am a huge fan of the Bourne series, Matt Damon turns 42.

Big Important Stories of the Day:

The United States roster comes out for its latest pair of qualifiers, Friday in Antigua and then next week here against Guatemala. We already know one surprise, Eddie Johnson’s apparent inclusion. But there may be more surprises ahead; Jurgen Klinsmann has certainly demonstrated a lack of predictability where his selections are concerned.

The subplot here, one that related directly to Klinsmann’s latest call-ups, is Landon Donovan’s status. Galaxy coach Bruce Arena likes to make a big mystery of injuries, always playing fast and loose with the facts in these matters. But we’ll know a little more, at very least, on Monday. If Donovan is on the roster when U.S. Soccer releases it at 3 p.m. ET, then he’s OK. If he’s not named to the U.S. squad – well, we still don’t know much about the left knee injury, but we know a little more.

(MORE: Landon Donovan’s injury, with enough concern to go around)

(MORE: With little margin for error, Klinsmann wants greater focus)

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day):  Alecko Eskandarian

*Ahead on the blog today: Plenty. Thoughts on the U.S. roster, and something on Klinsmann news conference (at 3:30 p.m. ET) to discuss it.

Some thoughts on a U.S. Soccer decision that chaps my hiney.

We’ll talk a little more about the sensational scene last night in Seattle (pictured), where the Sounders fans went “all in.”

And the Monday usual, MLS Team of the Week, MLS Player of the Week and the Monday “Meh” list.

Twitter daps:

source:

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

Eastern Conference

(Wildcard round)

  • Houston at New York

(Second round)

  • Sporting Kansas City vs. Wildcard winner
  • Chicago vs. D.C. United

Western Conference:

(Wildcard round)

  • Vancouver Whitecaps at L.A. Galaxy

(Second Round)

  • San Jose vs. Wildcard winner
  • Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle

PST background noise while blogging today:  Sports talk. What a fantastic time of year.

We’ll leave you with this: How referee Mark Geiger could allow Kansas City’s Kei Kamara (or any player, for that matter) to get in his face and scream at him underscores how the league absolutely must empower – let’s make that require – match officials to demand players comport themselves more appropriately. This is what we want kids to see? This is the example everyone wants to set? That’s pitiful.

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

Europa League Preview: Everton, Milan look to make group stage

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Everton look to make it back into the Europa League group stage for the first time since the 2014-2015 season and it has a two-goal advantage heading into the second leg of its tie.

Ronald Koeman and co. travel to Croatia to face Hadjuk Split Thursday having won the first leg at Goodison Park, 2-0. Everton is coming off a hard-fought draw on Monday with Manchester City and will be on short rest heading into the match.

Elsewhere in Europa League action, AC Milan take its 6-0 aggregate lead to Skopje, Macedonia as the legendary club looks to return to the group stage of a European competition for the first time since 2013-2014.

Here’s a look at all of Thursday’s Europa League matches, with the current aggregate scores:

(more…)

EFL Cup Rewind: Southampton, Newcastle knocked out by Championship sides

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Last season, Southampton made it to the EFL Cup final. This year, it’s a different story.

The Saints were bounced by Wolverhampton Wanderers, 2-0 at home on Wednesday in the second round of the cup. Joining Southampton of Premier League sides going home early was Newcastle, which lost 3-2 after extra time at home against Nottingham Forest.

Four other Premier League sides did advance to the third round, as Stoke City, Huddersfield Town, West Ham United and Burnley all won their fixtures.

Here’s a look at the rest of Wednesday’s EFL Cup action:

Blackburn 0-2 Burnley

Cheltenham 0-2 West Ham

Huddersfield 2-1 Rotherham

Newcastle 2-3 Nottingham Forest

Southampton 0-2 Wolverhampton

Stoke City 4-0 Rochdale

Breaking down who each Premier League team could face in the UCL Group Stage

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The UEFA Champions League group stage lineup is complete, with five Premier League clubs making the list.

On Wednesday, Liverpool joined Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United in the group stage after beating Hoffenheim, 6-3 on aggregate in the playoff qualification round.

Thursday’s Champions League draw (2 p.m. ET) will place clubs into groups of four, where they’ll play three matches at home and away.

Here’s a look at the four coefficient pots and who each Premier League club could face:

(more…)

Follow Live – Texas Derby, Cascadia Cup headline busy night of MLS action

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Welcome to MLS Rivalry Week.

The surging Houston Dynamo could move to first place in the Western Conference with a win over rivals FC Dallas while the current first-place side, the Seattle Sounders travel north and across the border to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

The Dynamo have made an impressive turnaround under coach Wilmer Cabrera and he’ll have the trio of Ricardo Clark, Alberth Elis and star forward Erick Torres available to face Dallas after missing the Dynamo’s match at Vancouver last weekend, which ended 2-1 in favor of the Whitecaps.

FC Dallas are in its worst form of the season, winless in its last four games, but the team will be extra motivated to beat its rivals.

El Capitan is on the line after draws between FC Dallas and the Dynamo in two matches earlier this season.

Meanwhile up in Vancouver, the Whitecaps host a Sounders squad that pulled out a last-gasp victory last weekend over Minnesota United. While the team is in great form on the road recently (two wins and two draws), the top story heading into the game is the unexpected absence of Joevin Jones, who left the Sounders for his home in Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the upcoming international break.

[ FOLLOW: Live MLS scores ]

On the other side, Fredy Montero faces his former club and carries an interesting record into Wednesday’s match. Of his 35 MLS goals, 11 have been scored against Cascadia Cup competition.

Here’s a look at Wednesday’s action:

Full schedule

Columbus Crew vs. LA Galaxy – 7:30 p.m. ET

D.C. United vs. Atlanta United – 7:30 p.m.ET

FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo – 8 p.m. ET

Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union – 8 p.m. ET

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes – 10 p.m. ET

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders – 10 p.m. ET

Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids – 10:30 p.m. ET