ProSoccerTalk’s daily soccer re-set

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Soccer birthdays:

A fairly glum year around fabled Arsenal might be darker still but for Santi Cazorla, the little Spaniard who has exceeded expectations around the Emirates. Arsenal’s playmaker turns 28 on Thursday.

Past that, on a fairly meager day for soccer birthdays, we can give you Taylor Swift (pictured) – and that’s about all. The American singer turns 23.

Big Important Stories of the Day: 

Expect the fallout to be intense over the sorry happenings Wednesday night in Sao Paulo, where the team by the same name was awarded the Copa Sudamericana title on Wednesday after violence broke out inside and outside the stadium. Argentine club Tigre refused to play the second half of the contest in Brazil’s largest city. The “other shoe” falling here is that Sao Paulo and Brazil are scheduled to host World Cup 2014 in less than two years.

So, yes … expect to read more on this one.

Meanwhile, Monterrey’s clash with European champion Chelsea at FIFA’s Club World Cup will steal the early headlines. And you never know when that goal line technology now in use during the tournament in Japan will be called into action.

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day: Brian McBride

*Ahead on the blog today: 
The next in a series of conversations based on a long conversation with U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann. That will drop at about noon ET.

We’ll have highlights from Wednesday’s U.S. women’s match in Houston.

We’ll have more from the wild scenes in Sao Paulo,  plus news from Major League’s Soccer intense, compressed off-season, which will continue to churn.

What you should watch on TV today:

Hopefully we all DVRed that Chelsea-Monterrey clash (played in the pre-dawn hours here). Because otherwise, this is a “slim pickin’s” zone, live soccer-wise.

We’ll leave you with this:

This nasty stuff down in Brazil is truly disturbing. If officials there cannot get hold of one match involving a relatively small club visiting from Argentina, what will come of the far, far larger event set to unfold inside that troubled country in less than two year’s time? Truly, FIFA needs to have a people on the ground right now, looking into all this.

*Always subject to change; you know how it is

Europa League Preview: Everton, Milan look to make group stage

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Everton look to make it back into the Europa League group stage for the first time since the 2014-2015 season and it has a two-goal advantage heading into the second leg of its tie.

Ronald Koeman and co. travel to Croatia to face Hadjuk Split Thursday having won the first leg at Goodison Park, 2-0. Everton is coming off a hard-fought draw on Monday with Manchester City and will be on short rest heading into the match.

Elsewhere in Europa League action, AC Milan take its 6-0 aggregate lead to Skopje, Macedonia as the legendary club looks to return to the group stage of a European competition for the first time since 2013-2014.

Here’s a look at all of Thursday’s Europa League matches, with the current aggregate scores:

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EFL Cup Rewind: Southampton, Newcastle knocked out by Championship sides

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Last season, Southampton made it to the EFL Cup final. This year, it’s a different story.

The Saints were bounced by Wolverhampton Wanderers, 2-0 at home on Wednesday in the second round of the cup. Joining Southampton of Premier League sides going home early was Newcastle, which lost 3-2 after extra time at home against Nottingham Forest.

Four other Premier League sides did advance to the third round, as Stoke City, Huddersfield Town, West Ham United and Burnley all won their fixtures.

Here’s a look at the rest of Wednesday’s EFL Cup action:

Blackburn 0-2 Burnley

Cheltenham 0-2 West Ham

Huddersfield 2-1 Rotherham

Newcastle 2-3 Nottingham Forest

Southampton 0-2 Wolverhampton

Stoke City 4-0 Rochdale

Breaking down who each Premier League team could face in the UCL Group Stage

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The UEFA Champions League group stage lineup is complete, with five Premier League clubs making the list.

On Wednesday, Liverpool joined Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United in the group stage after beating Hoffenheim, 6-3 on aggregate in the playoff qualification round.

Thursday’s Champions League draw (2 p.m. ET) will place clubs into groups of four, where they’ll play three matches at home and away.

Here’s a look at the four coefficient pots and who each Premier League club could face:

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Follow Live – Texas Derby, Cascadia Cup headline busy night of MLS action

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Welcome to MLS Rivalry Week.

The surging Houston Dynamo could move to first place in the Western Conference with a win over rivals FC Dallas while the current first-place side, the Seattle Sounders travel north and across the border to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

The Dynamo have made an impressive turnaround under coach Wilmer Cabrera and he’ll have the trio of Ricardo Clark, Alberth Elis and star forward Erick Torres available to face Dallas after missing the Dynamo’s match at Vancouver last weekend, which ended 2-1 in favor of the Whitecaps.

FC Dallas are in its worst form of the season, winless in its last four games, but the team will be extra motivated to beat its rivals.

El Capitan is on the line after draws between FC Dallas and the Dynamo in two matches earlier this season.

Meanwhile up in Vancouver, the Whitecaps host a Sounders squad that pulled out a last-gasp victory last weekend over Minnesota United. While the team is in great form on the road recently (two wins and two draws), the top story heading into the game is the unexpected absence of Joevin Jones, who left the Sounders for his home in Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the upcoming international break.

[ FOLLOW: Live MLS scores ]

On the other side, Fredy Montero faces his former club and carries an interesting record into Wednesday’s match. Of his 35 MLS goals, 11 have been scored against Cascadia Cup competition.

Here’s a look at Wednesday’s action:

Full schedule

Columbus Crew vs. LA Galaxy – 7:30 p.m. ET

D.C. United vs. Atlanta United – 7:30 p.m.ET

FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo – 8 p.m. ET

Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union – 8 p.m. ET

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes – 10 p.m. ET

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders – 10 p.m. ET

Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids – 10:30 p.m. ET