ProSoccerTalk’s daily soccer re-set

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Soccer birthdays:

It’s a barren day for soccer birthdays. A rotten day – or at least a very bad day for our research team into soccer birthdays.  I’m sure someone will let me know if our research staff checked out early Monday night and missed one. Otherwise, Bo Derek, American all-that pin-up girl of another day, turns 56.

That’s all we got.

Well, that and David Beckham. His birthday is May 2. Just sayin’.

Big Important Stories of the Day:

David. Beckham. … Need we say more?

Elsewhere, it’s European Champions League, Match Day 5, to be exact. (It’s a slightly unstable element of the world’s best club competition, but “Match Day” in this case actually extends over two days. Those crazy Europeans!)

FC Porto, Málaga CF and Manchester United FC have already qualified for the tournament’s knockout stage, and a bunch of clubs can join them with the right result over the next two days.

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day:  Chris Albright

*Ahead on the blog today:

We’ll discuss a certain handsome, well-groomed Englishman. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. Some call him Becks. He’s leaving.

Leaving what, though? The Galaxy? MLS? A playing career, now bound for corner office ownership? All good questions … which is why we’ll talk about it.

Plus, there will be further discussion on the final two survivors in the chase for MLS Cup 2012. We’ll have plenty of Champions League talk, and a word of caution about a term we keep hearing: “Dynamo Dynasty.”

Twitter daps:

source:

What you should watch on TV today:

Plenty of live Champions League across the Fox Soccer platforms starting at noon ET. Barcelona needs a rebound performance when it travels to Russia to face Spartak Moscow. That’s at noon on Fox Soccer Channel. Immediately after, the blue men of Chelsea need to arrest their recent spiral, and a trip into Juventus won’t be the easiest of places to do it. Coverage of that one begins at 2:30 p.m. ET on FSC.

Background noise while blogging today:

Mash-ups of David Beckham goals? Perhaps rediscovering the magic of that initial Becks news conference back in ’07? Beckham video from the summer’s London Games opening ceremonies? (No kidding, it’s still on my DVR.) At least until those Champions League matches pop on today, and some normalcy is restored.

We’ll leave you with this:

I cannot help but wonder if, secretly, Galaxy manager Bruce Arena is hap-hap-happy as a kid on a sugar high that dealing with Beckham and all the related distractions will soon be things of the past? Clearly, the man has been a wonderful and useful performer for most of his days and nights in L.A. Galaxy Valley. But there’s always something extra to deal with. It’s that “something extra” that I suspect Arena will not miss. Not. One. Bit.

*Always subject to change; you know how it is

USMNT: 4 players, including Brooks, Lletget, released; Arriola added

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Hours after his side’s 6-0 thrashing of Honduras to resuscitate dreams of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, Bruce Arena announced on Saturday five changes to the U.S. national team roster ahead of Tuesday’s qualifier against Panama.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage | MLS ]

John Brooks (sinus infection), Sebastian Lletget (foot), Jordan Morris (knee) and Michael Orozco (knee) were all released back to their club teams, while Club Tijuana midfielder Paul Arriola was added to the squad.

[ MORE: USA 6-0 Honduras | Three things we learned | Player ratings ]

Brooks dealt with the sinus infection throughout USMNT camp this past week, as Morris did his knee injury which he picked up last weekend. Lletget left Friday’s win over Honduras in the 18th minute and will undergo further tests to determine the severity of his injury; he was seen leaving the stadium on crutches and wearing a walking boot.

The USMNT’s roster for Tuesday’s qualifier in Panama City, Panama, now stands at 23 players, and reads as follows:

Goalkeepers: David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Tim Ream (Fulham), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (LA Galaxy), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund)

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

Rapinoe won’t back down on social issues despite U.S. Soccer policy

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Megan Rapinoe recently earned her spot back in the U.S. Women’s National Team squad ahead of next month’s friendlies against Russia, but the veteran won’t remain silent when it comes to her stance on the social climate of America.

[ MORE: Looking back on USMNT’s big win over Honduras ]

The 31-year-old was scrutinized for joining NFL player Colin Kaepernick in 2016 when they knelt during their respective sporting events, along with dozens of other athletes across the United States.

While Rapinoe admits that the form of protest is up for discussion, she also states that social inequality issues in the U.S. go far beyond that.

“What has surprised me the most, especially post-election, is that people are still sort of arguing against it. It’s really obvious that we have very serious inequality in this country across many different spectrums,” Rapinoe told the Guardian. “Yes, we can talk about the form of protest, or the way it’s done, or this or that. But it’s still not really the conversation that I think we desperately need to have more of in this country.”

A few weeks back, U.S. Soccer announced that it now requires all players that represent the Stars and Stripes to stand when the national anthem is played, and Rapinoe has agreed to do such.

While her days of kneeling on the pitch are in the past, Rapinoe believes she wouldn’t do anything different because she was simply trying to spark discussion amongst the American people.

“I don’t think there’s any perfect way to protest. I think if there was something else being done, something else would have been said about it. I can’t look back and say that I would have done this different, this different or this different.

“I can sleep at night knowing that I genuinely tried to have a really important conversation, or at least tried to open it up. I think I came to it with an open mind, an open heart and tried to get as many people to talk about it as I could.”

Report: Chelsea planning Hazard, Courtois pay raises

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Eden Hazard has returned to his old self under Antonio Conte this season, and now Chelsea is hoping to lock down their star attacker.

[ MORE: Lukaku says decision has been made on Everton future ]

According to the Mirror, the Premier League leaders are planning on offering up a pay raise to Hazard, who has 11 league goals this season for the Blues.

Hazard signed a nearly $250,000 per week deal two seasons ago, but the Belgium international will likely rake in significantly more under the reported deal as Chelsea hopes to keep the 26-year-old away from Spanish giants Real Madrid and others.

The Mirror is also reporting that goalkeeper and Hazard’s Belgian teammate Thibaut Courtois is likely to be handed a raise is salary as well.

The shot-stopper is set be handed a deal roughly in the range of what Hazard is currently making after allowing just 21 goals in 28 PL matches this season.

Ballack acknowledges difficult decision ahead for John Terry

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For the better part of 19 years John Terry has been a staple of Chelsea’s backline.

[ WATCH: Zaha nets first international goal for Ivory Coast ]

With his future at Stamford Bridge becoming more and more in doubt though, it appears it’s time for the 36-year-old to move on from his longtime club, and that’s a decision that another former Chelsea player doesn’t envy.

[ MORE: Everton’s Coleman breaks leg on Ireland duty ]

Ex-Blues midfielder Michael Ballack knows that Terry has options, whether it be in Major League Soccer, the Chinese Super League or even with another Premier League club, but the German says it’s difficult because of what the centerback has meant to Chelsea.

“He is a player with that history and charisma,” Ballack, who spent four years with Chelsea during his playing days, told Sky Sports. “He’s such a Chelsea boy and they love him there.

“I know what it means if your career comes to an end and you’re getting older. You don’t know whether you extend your contract, play for another club or go abroad to America.

“I’m sure he has some options but if you think long-term, you have to feel comfortable with the decision.

For the first time in years, Terry has failed to establish himself as a first-team regular largely due to Antonio Conte‘s three-back system. The 36-year-old has appeared in just five PL matches this campaign, while making 10 appearances overall for the Blues, who currently sit atop England’s top flight and are in position to go for the double with the FA Cup semifinals lurking.

Terry himself has acknowledged that his career is nearing its end, but knowing the competitive drive that has made the Englishman great throughout his almost 20-year career, it’s hard to imagine that he’ll just give up his playing days without a fight.