ProSoccerTalk’s daily soccer re-set

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Soccer birthdays:

Russian international Pavel Pogrebnyak, whose migration west has taken him through German’s Stuttgart and then through England’s Fulham and Reading, turns 29.

Lille’s Joe Cole, who still seems for all the world like he should be Chelsea’s Joe Cole, turns 31.

Brazilian international Luis Fabiano, currently with Sao Paulo, turns 32.

Finally, Northern Ireland Aaron Hughes, a fixture around Craven Cottage since 2007, turns 33.

(Bonus: celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay (pictured right), whose tales of a brief career in professional soccer apparently were, uh, “embellished,” turns 46. Once his “embellishments” were revealed, a spokesman contested that “Any inaccuracies . . . can be explained by the fact that all this occurred nearly 25 years ago.” Yes. I sometimes forget whether or not I played professional soccer, too. It’s all so darn confusing! Or, we can go with this: It’s also explained by the fact that he lied to gin up a brief trial with Rangers.)

Big Important Stories of the Day:

Things we know this morning that we didn’t know yesterday:

Two of the four MLS Cup semifinalist – and we’ll learn the third and fourth later tonight, and; we know the U.S. national team’s schedule for final round World Cup qualifying.

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day:  Scott Garlick

*Ahead on the blog today:

Lots of MLS playoff talk (including more on the bizarre scene in New Jersey, where snow forced a 24-hour postponement of the Red Bulls-D.C. United match), a little Europa League talk and more than a little U.S. national team talk.

Twitter daps:

source:

What you should watch on TV today:

Anzhi Makhachkala hosts Liverpool at 11 a.m. ET in Europa League play on Fox Soccer Channel.

Then at 2 p.m. ET on Fox Soccer Channel, Clint Dempsey and Tottenham Hotspur host Maribor in Europa play.

As for the “late shift,” both MLS playoff matches are on NBC Sports Network. Coverage of the Red Bulls-D.C. United contest begins at 7:30 p.m. ET.  Then coverage moves west to Utah, where the camera lights switch on at 10 p.m. ET for Real Salt Lake and Seattle.

We’ll leave you with this:  MLS host rights are wide, wide open. Sporting Kansas City and San Jose had the top odds going into playoff season. Now it could easily be any five of the six teams still alive; only Houston doesn’t have a path to potential host duty.

Messi could face CONMEBOL suspension for verbal abusing official

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Already facing some uncertainty with a depleted roster, Argentina could face a significantly greater challenge.

[ MORE: Aguero left out of Argentina starting XI vs. Bolivia ]

Barcelona star Lionel Messi could face suspension after reportedly verbally abusing linesman Marcelo Van Gasse during the second half of Thursday’s 1-0 win over Chile.

Messi was reported to CONMEBOL for yelling, “F*** off, your mother’s c***” at Van Gasse and refused to shake the official’s hand at the end of the match.

The officiating crew from the match didn’t initially include Messi’s rant in the post-match report, however, it was added on Monday and submitted to CONMEBOL.

The South American federation must now decide if and when it will punish Messi for his reported actions, and there is the potential that the world-class attacker could be suspended for Tuesday’s clash against Bolivia if the federation acts quickly.

There are several other scenarios though for CONMEBOL to action, including disregarding Messi’s verbal assault.

La Albiceleste currently sit third in World Cup qualifying on 22 points.

Arena speaks about USMNT turnaround, says “no secret formulas”

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It’s only been one competitive match since Bruce Arena regained control of the U.S. Men’s National Team and there’s already been a noticeable difference in form.

[ MORE: Three keys for the USMNT ahead of Panama clash ]

The former LA Galaxy manager wouldn’t have you believe that though following Friday night’s convincing 6-0 victory over Honduras in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

“It’s nothing I can write a book on,” Arena said about his team’s turnaround in form against Honduras. “You have a sense of your group, and you go about doing your business. There’s no secret formulas to this stuff. Work together, take ownership in what you’re doing, treat them like responsible professional athletes, and you get on with your business.

He added, “They want to be successful. They want to play in a World Cup. Is that a recipe for success? I don’t know. I’m sure Honduras wants to play in a World Cup too.”

Arena, who took over for Jurgen Klinsmann following the U.S.’ collapse during the first two matches of the Hexagonal, is unbeaten in his first three games in charge since getting his job back with the Stars and Stripes.

Although there has been a considerable turnaround in the way the USMNT has performed in the first three matches of 2017, Arena wouldn’t stoop to comparing his style to that of Klinsmann.

“I’m not doing anything differently,” he said. “I’m not taking a survey [of the players]. I know it’s different. We lose tomorrow, there will be articles written that, ‘This a—— is letting these guys run loose.'”

“I have spent no time on the past. There’s nothing I can do about it. I kind of have a sense about things, but there’s no point in me spending time investigating what went on in the past. The idea was to get it going the right way from the start.”

Arena’s next test with the U.S. will be on Tuesday when the Yanks travel to Panama City to take on Panama.

Report: American teenager linked with Manchester United

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The U.S. Men’s National Team is always looking for more Christian Pulisic-like players, and another star-in-the-making could be on his way to Old Trafford.

[ MORE: Three keys for USMNT ahead of Panama clash ]

American teenager Will Vint is reportedly being pursued by Premier League giants Manchester United after previously having trialed with Fulham and Everton.

Vint, the 15-year-old son Everton academy director Peter Vint, has reportedly impressed the Red Devils while on trial as of late. Additionally, the teen’s Instagram page describes him as a “Footballer at Manchester United.”

The number of Americans in England’s top flight have dwindled down over recent years, however, USMNT mainstays like Geoff Cameron and Brad Guzan (moving to Atlanta United) still reside in the PL.

Chapecoense announces match against Colombia’s Nacional

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SAO PAULO (AP) Brazilian club Chapecoense will play Colombia’s Atletico Nacional on April 4 in what will be an emotional home match.

[ MORE: Aguero left out of Argentina XI to face Bolivia ]

In November, 19 members of the Brazilian team died in an air crash outside Medellin as they travelled to play Nacional in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final. Out of 77 passengers, 71 died in the incident, including players, journalists, and club officials.

Chapecoense says they will play at 22,000-seat Arena Conda in southern Brazil in the first leg of the Recopa Sudamericana.

The tragedy made Atletico Nacional pronounce Chapecoense as champions, and the South American confederation agreed.

The Recopa Sudamericana is between the champions of the Copa Sudamericana and the Copa Libertadores.