Reports have Sampson, Ramirez among candidates for Chivas USA job

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A couple of signs things around Chivas USA aren’t getting better: First, the surprise news last week the Johan Cruyff, the man who was supposed to be engineering all things Chivas soccer, is gone; and second, the team still doesn’t have a coach. Granted, Chivas isn’t the only team without a boss. Still, their situation just seems more chaotic, with the team undergoing an organization reset after a deflating 2012.

More than a month after Chivas’s last competitive match, candidates are starting to emerge to replace Robin Fraser. Team blog The Goat Parade aggregates a number of reports to spotlight three main contenders.

Ramon Ramirez played for Chivas USA for three seasons (2005-07) after a long career in the Mexican league (which included two spells with Chivas Guadalajara). With 121 Mexican national team caps on his playing record, the former midfielder brings a lot of on-the-field credibility to the position. A one-time captain in Carson, Ramirez is more than a drop-in option and may actually bring some history and organizational pride to a team that has always had a transient quality to it.

That’s why Jose Luis Sanchez Sola (“Chelis”) seems like a less attractive option. Spanish-language reports claim Chelis has had contract with Jorge Vergara, but he’s also been linked with a return to Puebla, where he help restore that club to competitiveness late last decade. Over the last couple of seasons, he’s had a disappointing spell at Estudiantes Tecos and a short stint at second division side Correcaminos. While the job he did at Puebla (resurrecting a dormant team) recommends itself for Chivas USA, it’s hard to see how this would be something other than just another job to Chelis.

For Steve Sampson, however, the Chivas USA job would be a break. It would be a chance for the former MLS Cup-winner and U.S. men’s national team coach to get back in a game he’s been out of since 2006. He’s a fluent Spanish speaker, has experience in Latin America (a head coaching stint with Costa Rica), and can assumed to be hungry to prove his firing by the Galaxy in the wake of a MLS Cup-U.S. Open Cup double was premature.

MLS SuperDraft 2018 Live Tracker

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For a few dozen players, hearing their name called up to the big stage will validate all the hard work and sacrifices they’ve made since they were children.

Starting at 11:00 a.m. when Los Angeles FC is on the clock at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, the 2018 MLS SuperDraft will be underway. Many of the top college prospects will soon find out whether they’ll be headed to the Pacific Northwest, New England, the Southeast, Southern California or anywhere in between.

[MORE: 2018 MLS Mock Draft]

This year’s draft class is loaded with attacking talent, from Generation Adidas trio Ema Twumasi (Wake Forest), Mason Toye (Indiana) and Francis Atuahene (Michigan) to Twumasi’s college teammate Jon Bakero.

But potential No. 1 overall pick is a three-time national champion, Thomas Hilliard-Arce, who could become the anchor of a backline for a decade.

Follow along below as we update the picks live as we hear them:

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Bayern signs Germany midfielder Goretzka from rival Schalke

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MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich signed Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka on Friday on a free transfer from Bundesliga rival Schalke effective from next season.

Bayern said the 22-year-old Goretzka signed a four-year deal from July 1 through June 2022.

Schalke, which Goretzka joined in 2013 from hometown club Bochum, said the player informed the club this week of his wish to join Bayern when his contract expired.

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“We think we did everything in the last months to convince Leon to stay with us,” Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel said. “In the end, it wasn’t enough.”

Schalke had long been engaged in trying to get Goretzka to extend his contract, but was aware of reported interest from Bayern, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Liverpool.

“We’re very happy that Leon Goretzka, a German international with big potential, has decided in favor of Bayern despite big-name international competitors. This way it’s ensured that Leon Goretzka remains in the Bundesliga,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.

Goretzka scored 19 goals and set up 13 more in 130 appearances for Schalke.

The club had previously expressed its displeasure with Bayern making public statements about its player after Goretzka was praised by sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic and coach Jupp Heynckes.

Heidel said “we don’t need to hear every day from the Munich people how good our player is.”

Goretzka has six goals in 12 games for Germany.

Pele hospitalized overnight in Brazil

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The most famous soccer player in the world had a scare last night as he was hospitalized in Brazil for “severe exhaustion.”

Pele, 77, was set to travel to London this weekend to be honored by the Football Writers Association, though it looks like that trip has now been postponed.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Pele collapsed and was taken to a hospital in Brazil where he has undergone a series of tests which appear to point to severe exhaustion,” a FWA statement said. “He remains on fluids while doctors monitor his recovery.

“Thankfully, there is no suggestion of anything more serious than exhaustion.”

Here’s to hoping Pele makes a full recovery.

[MORE: USMNT centerback heads to Championship club]

USMNT centerback Carter-Vickers heads to Ipswich Town on loan

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Cameron Carter-Vickers has a new club to call home for the next five months or so after a rough first half of the season.

Tottenham announced Friday morning that it had loaned the U.S. Men’s National Team centerback to Championship club Ipswich Town for the rest of the season. Carter-Vickers spent the first five months of the season at fellow Championship side Sheffield United, starting 17 times though he struggled recently as Sheffield won just one game he played in during the month of December, losing three and drawing one.

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Carter-Vickers was then recalled earlier this week and now has a new home with a mid-table Championship club, with a new chance to impress. Hopefully Carter-Vickers can recover his form and continue to grow, potentially latching on to another Premier League side next year or breaking into the Tottenham first team.

There’s another interesting American tie-in to this. Carter-Vickers appears to be a short-term replacement for Ipswich Town’s Tommy Smith, who the club states is headed to join the Colorado Rapids ahead of the 2018 MLS season.