ProSoccerTalk’s daily soccer re-set

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Soccer Birthdays:

A flood of them on Wednesday: Dunga, former Brazil captain and head coach during World Cup 2010, turns 49; three-time Ballon d’Or-winner Marco van Basten turns 48; Manchester United defender and Ireland international Denis Irwin is 47; Real Madrid icon Guti turns 36; while former Germany goal machine Inka Grings is 34.

Big Important Story of the Day:

Major League Soccer’s 2012 postseason tournament starts today when one of last year’s finalists, the Houston Dynamo, visit the Chicago Fire. It’s the beginning of five straight days of playoff soccer taking us through San Jose’s Western Conference semifinal opener on Sunday.

Beyond MLS, Manchester United is back at Stamford Bridge for the second time in four days, with Chelsea and the Red Devils meeting in the Capital One Cup. In the wake of what’s alleged to have happened on Sunday, we can only hope for an incident-free affair.

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day:  Frankie Hejduk

Ahead on the blog today:

We’ll have more on what’s ahead for U.S. Soccer and Tom Sermanni, a preview of Thursday’s Major League Soccer knockout match between Vancouver and Los Angeles, the result from Stamford Bridge as well as coverage of the events at Toyota Park.

What we should be watching on TV:

ESPN2 has the MLS honors tonight, with a 9:00 p.m. Eastern kickoff in Chicago. Before that, if you have access to beIN Sport, Chelsea and Manchester United will kickoff at 3:40 p.m. Eastern.

PST background noise while blogging today:

Nashville would not be my tumbler of brew if it weren’t for Friday Night Lights. Seeing Connie Britton in the show image on Hulu made me wonder what Tami Taylor’s up to now. I don’t know how I feel about the show yet, but I did click on Episode 2.

We’ll leave you with this:

Houston had a +19 goal difference at BBVA Compass Stadium this season. Only San Jose and D.C. United performed better at home. Unfortunately for the Dynamo, tonight’s do-or-die game is on the road, where they’re -12. Among playoff teams, only Vancouver was less productive away from home.

2-year doping ban upheld for Finland, CSKA Moscow player

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld a two-year ban for CSKA Moscow midfielder Roman Eremenko for a positive test for cocaine.

[ MORE: Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]

CAS says the ban imposed by UEFA was “appropriate” and dismissed the Finland international’s appeal.

[ MORE: Vertonghen says Spurs need to “level up” like rest of PL contenders ]

The ban will expire on Oct. 5, 2018, when Eremenko will be 31.

Eremenko tested positive after playing in a Champions League game for CSKA Moscow against Bayer Leverkusen last September. The 2-2 result was not affected despite Eremenko scoring CSKA’s second goal.

Born in Moscow, Eremenko grew up in Finland and has represented its national team 73 times.

Webb says De Jong would have been sent off with video review

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NEW YORK (AP) Howard Webb says he would have given Dutch midfielder Nigel De Jong a red card in the 2010 World Cup final if a video assistant referee had been in place.

The retired English referee showed De Jong a yellow card in the 28th minute for his karate kick into the chest of Spain’s Xabi Alonso. Hired in March to oversee video technology for professional soccer in the U.S. and Canada, Webb held a media seminar Friday ahead of its Aug. 5 launch in Major League Soccer.

Webb says: “Yes, it was a clear red card. It was a clear and obvious error on my part not to send the player off, and VAR would have been able to recommend a review to me, and I would have been able to make the right call.”

Now 46, Webb was a Premier League referee from 2003-14. He worked the Champions League and World Cup finals in 2010, became director of referees at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, and started in March as manager of video assistant referee operations for the Professional Referee Organization.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City 0-1 Atlanta United (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Friday night’s effort at Orlando City Stadium wasn’t the prettiest for either side but Atlanta United will gladly take three points from the fixture as the Central Florida venue proved to be a fortress once more. The Lions were far superior in their attacking threats throughout the match, testing USMNT and Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan on multiple occasions. However, it was Hector Villalba that proved to be the difference when he blasted a long-distance effort to beat Joe Bendik in the 86th minute. Atlanta extends its unbeaten streak to four matches with Friday’s decision, keeping Tata Martino’s side in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, while Orlando City moves into fifth.

Three moments that mattered

36′ — Guzan stands tall, denies Rivas — Carlos Rivas thought he scorched this one (and he did…), but Brad Guzan acted like it was nothing as he held his ground to make the stop.

39′ — Spector gets ripped off by Guzan — The U.S. goalkeeper is at it again… What a save!

86′ — Villalba unleashes stunner to propel Atlanta — Sometimes it just takes one good hit as a striker.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Brad Guzan

Goalscorers: Hector Villalba (86′)

Report: Man City adding Mendy to continue backline restoration

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Fresh off of completing a record deal to help bolster the club’s back line this summer, Manchester City is back at it with the Premier League season looming.

[ MORE: Alvaro Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]

The Citizens are reportedly on the brink of signing Monaco left back Benjamin Mendy to yet another world-record fee — which will total over $67 million.

Confirmation of the deal has yet to be announced by either team, but L’Equipe is reporting that the Citizens are hot on the 23-year-old’s trail in adding to their pricy back four.

Manager Pep Guardiola and Man City have not been shy readjusting their defensive unit over the past year, adding expensive first-team choices John Stones and Kyle Walker.