Manchester City's Balotelli tackles Borussia Dortmund's Hummels during their Champions League soccer match in Dortmund

ProSoccerTalk daily soccer re-set

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Soccer birthdays:

El Emperador, Claudio Suárez, turns 44 today. The former Mexican national team captain and defender for Pumas, Chivas, Tigres and (eventually) Chivas USA accumulated 178 caps over a 15-year international career. The three-time Gold Cup winner represent Mexico at the 1994, 1998, and 2006 World Cups.

Big Important Stories of the Day:

If last week’s activity was any indicator, expect the MLS trade winds to keep blowing. As the league’s offseasons get shorter and shorter (with players set to start camps next month), there’s less time for teams to makeover their their rosters. More teams making more moves in less time.

For English Premier League fans, expect the London papers to be rife with reaction to Chelsea’s Sunday loss to Corinthians in Japan. Europe may not take the Club World Cup seriously, but when it comes to scrutinizing Rafa Benítez, don’t expect columnists to pass up such low hanging fruit.

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day:

Nikolas Besgano

What you should watch on TV today:

Arsenal’s season could get a lot more interesting today around 5:00 p.m. Eastern, and not in a good way. At 3:00 p.m., the Gunners kick off at Reading, one of the worst teams in the Premier League. If Arsenal can’t take three points from the Royals, Arsène Wenger’s struggles could knock Benítez out of the headlines.

Twitter daps:

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We’ll leave you with this:

Some thoughts on the potential of Mix Diskerud, currently skipping around the United States, switching to Major League Soccer:

  • For a long time, people have been hoping MLS teams would make moves like this one. While it’s not official yet, it’s interesting that we’re approaching a time when teams may be willing to make the commitment to bring young, talented national team players back from their European sojourns.
  • But … how much do you think it’s going to cost Portland to convince Diskerud to forgo playing in Europe?

Vardy joins chorus of Leicester players lauding Ranieri

NEWCASTLE, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Leicester City's manager Claudio Ranieri congratulates Jamie Vardy of Leicester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle and Leicester City at St James Park on November 21, 2015 in Newcastle, England. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty images)
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty images
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Jamie Vardy has joined several Leicester City voices in refuting claims that he helped usher in the dismissal of championship-winning manager Claudio Ranieri.

Vardy led the Foxes in scoring during last season’s run to the Premier League title, but has struggled to follow that success this season. He has five goals in 22 matches.

[ MORE: Ranieri – “My dream died”

Ranieri was fired this week with Leicester on the verge of dipping into the relegation zone, where they now sit ahead of Monday’s match against Liverpool.

Vardy wants the world to know this wasn’t his preference, saying, “There is speculation I was involved in his dismissal and this is completely untrue, unfounded and is extremely hurtful!”

WATCH: Kane’s first half hat trick includes gorgeous volley

Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City at White Hart Lane stadium in London, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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Harry Kane spent the first half hour of Sunday’s tilt versus Stoke torturing the visiting Potters.

Kane opened the scoring in the 14th minute. Christian Eriksen bobbled Dele Alli‘s pass into the 18, but Ryan Shawcross‘ barely hit his clearance and Kane took a touch before belting home for the advantage.

[ WATCH: Spurs-Stoke live, replay ]

His second was lovely, bounding a low volley between the legs of Victor Wanyama and by a diving Lee Grant.

The third carried a bit of luck, with his low free kick taking a turn off the leg of wall end Peter Crouch to elude a lunging Grant. 3-0.

Here are the first and third, too:

Liverpool, Southampton lead EFL Cup Team of the Tournament

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The EFL Cup has named its team of the tournament ahead of Sunday morning’s final between Southampton and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium.

Liverpool and Southampton lead the way with two players each, while finalists Manchester United have just one player in the team.

[ MORE: Whitecaps acquire Brek Shea ]

That’s Ander Herrera, who joins a midfield with Sofiane Boufal (Saints), Mohamed Diame (Newcastle United), and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal).

Up top are Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge and Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham, the latter for his work at Bristol City.

The back four is led by Saints’ Maya Yoshida and Hull City’s Harry Maguire, with Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) and Matty Pearson (Accrington Stanley) joining the unit.

The backstop is Leeds United’s Marco Silvestri.

Watch Live: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Stoke City (Lineups, Stream)

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Wifried Bony of Stoke City and Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur battle for possession during the Premier League match between Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspur at Britannia Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
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The penultimate Premier League match of the weekend pits Stoke City against third-place Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Sunday (Watch live at 8:30 a.m. EDT on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Jan Vertonghen is back alongside Toby Alderweireld in the heart of Spurs’ back line, and it’s no surprise that PL Download stars Harry Kane and Hugo Lloris also start.

Geoff Cameron‘s four-month layoff appears to be reaching its end, as the USMNT back is on the subs bench for Stoke City. He last played on Oct. 22.

LINEUPS

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Walker, Dier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Wanyama, Dembele, Eriksen, Alli, Kane. Subs: Vorm, Trippier, Wimmer, Winks, Sissoko, Son, Janssen.

Stoke City: Grant; Bardsley, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters; Whelan, Adam; Arnautovic, Allen, Ramadan; Crouch. Subs: Given; Muniesa, Berahino, Afellay, Diouf, Cameron, Imbula.