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.

Another American heads to Schalke: Zyen Jones

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Schalkamerica?

Bundesliga mainstays Schalke have added yet another American, this one 17-year-old Zyen Jones of Atlanta United. Jones is a forward with the U.S. U-17 national team.

Like Josh Sargent, who signed his deal with Werder Bremen on Tuesday, he’ll head overseas and sign a pro contract on Aug. 25, his 18th birthday.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

Jones will join several potential USMNT teammates in Gelsenkirchen, including injured senior team midfielder Weston McKennie and youngster Nick Taitague (19). Forward Haji Wright is on loan at Sandhausen.

Report: Simon Dawkins making move to Minnesota

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The Loons are taking a flier on Simon Dawkins.

The London-born Jamaican international hasn’t done a ton since returning to MLS from Derby County, and turned 30 over the offseason, and Paul Tenorio says the player is on his way to Minnesota United.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

Dawkins scored 14 goals between 2011-12 with San Jose, but scored just five times in his return to California and was blanked in 14 appearances last season. He registered just 10 shots in those matches.

The left winger would join an attack with Christian Ramirez, Kevin Molino, Ethan Finlay, and a pair of Generations Adidas forwards: Abu Danladi (2017 SuperDraft) and Mason Toye (2018).

Champions League Weds. preview: Sevilla-Man Utd, Shakhtar-Roma

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Jose Mourinho says Manchester United is one round away from having legitimate hopes of winning the UEFA Champions League.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

That makes the Round of 16 tie against Sevilla — beginning Wednesday in Spain — a bit of a dream qualifier for the Red Devils.

“I normally say that Champions League dreams start around the quarter-finals and not yet in the last 16,” Mourinho said on ManUtd.com. “Last 16 still looks a long way to go. When a team reaches the quarter-finals, I think it’s the moment where even the teams that are not favourites – which is our case – they start realising that anything is possible.

The injury-hit side got a bit of a boost on Tuesday in Sevilla, where Paul Pogba, Antonio Valencia, Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera all trained ahead of the first leg.

As for the hosts, manager Vincenzo Montella admitted that he hopes Pogba won’t play, and joked that he’d prefer to tie up and “padlock” Alexis Sanchez in a bid to defend against the Chilean star.

The final Round of 16 tie to start will be Roma’s pairing with Shakhtar Donetsk, with the first leg taking place in Ukraine.

Shakhtar hasn’t played in some time, but the great equalizer is the bitter cold at Donbass Arena, where the temperature is set to be between 21 and 28 degrees Fahrenheit come kickoff.

Don’t worry, Roma fans, Daniele De Rossi is busy breathing fire into any teammates angling for excuses:

“The cold weather could affect things a little because we’re not used to it but at the end of the day it comes down to how well you perform out there. We must be mentally ready from the get-go because the cold might hit us in the opening minutes.

“If it was that much of a factor, these teams would win the Champions League every year. You don’t go through because of the weather.”

Villarreal opens probe into Semedo’s reported arrest

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MADRID (AP) Spanish club Villarreal says it is investigating the actions of defender Ruben Semedo after reports that he was arrested for a violent incident.

The club said it is “highly concerned” about the issue and “will take the appropriate disciplinary actions with utmost rigor based on the seriousness of the events.”

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

The statement was released after Spanish media reported that the Portuguese player was taken into custody early Tuesday for allegedly being involved in a hostile confrontation with another man last week.

Police did not immediately confirm Semedo’s arrest.