ProSoccerTalk daily soccer re-set

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What we’re thinking, what we’re watching, what’s coming on the blog today and the RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day). Setting up your day in soccer:

Soccer Birthdays:

Normally we honor individuals, but today’s big birthday is actually an anniversary (a birthday for inanimate or imaginary things).

One hundred fifty-two years ago today, the first ever game between clubs took place at the oldest ground in the world – Sandygate Road in Sheffield, England. That’s where Sheffield F.C. played host to Hallum F.C. on what was undoubtedly a frozen and soggy South Yorkshire pitch. Somebody’s boss left them a ball for Boxing Day, and without ProSoccerTalk and four tiers of league soccer to occupy their holiday, the restless of Sheffield took to the field.

Actually, the game wasn’t quite that random. Until 1860, Sheffield Football Club had only played against itself, but when Hallum complemented its cricket club with a soccer team, the stage was set for the first intra-club match. England’s day-after-Christmas holiday was the perfect day. With no offsides but the innovation of free kicks for fouls put in action, Sheffield won a match said to more resemble Australian Rules than Association football.

Today, Hallum sit at the ninth level England’s pyramid. Sheffield F.C. sits one level above in the Division One of the Northern Premier League South.

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day:

Jason Moore

Ahead on the blog today … Big Important Story of the Day … AND What you should watch on TV:

Expect a lot of Boxing Day coverage. Save West Ham and Arsenal, who had their match postponed (“proposed industrial action” being our euphemism of the month), the rest of England’s Premier League is in action, as is the entire Football League. Check out our snapshots of the Premier League games here.

We’ll also get you caught up on the stories leftover from the holidays. Between Christmas Eve and Day, we’ve all been away for a while.

Background noise while blogging:

It’s amazing how fast you can get through South Park when you just roll through the episodes. Without commercials, each show’s only 21 minutes long. With 14 episodes per season, it’s pretty easy to blow through a couple of seasons per day … when you have nothing to do but ride a keyboard all day long.

Another amazing thing about South Park: the show’s evolution. You can’t be around for 15-16 years without evolving, but at the beginning, the shock value of the toilet humor was a more central part of the show. Now, the bawdy stuff just breaks up the satire. Which is good.

Twitter daps:

[tweet https://twitter.com/JozyAltidore/status/282569186385989635] [tweet https://twitter.com/GeoffCameron/status/283241309576257536] [tweet https://twitter.com/stuholden/status/283374458473963520] [tweet https://twitter.com/alexmorgan13/status/283765354600222720] [tweet https://twitter.com/laurencheney8/status/283668536583409664]

The picture in Cheney’s tweet:

Happy Wednesday, everybody!

Cristiano Ronaldo announces birth of twin sons via surrogate

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Cristiano Ronaldo will not play in Portugal’s third-place match at the 2017 Confederations Cup this Sunday.

He has bigger things to sort out.

Ronaldo, 32, was released from Portugal’s squad late Wednesday after their defeat on penalty kicks to Chile in the Confed Cup semifinals in Russia.  The Real Madrid and Portugal superstar will now travel to visit his new twin sons, who were born via a surrogate earlier this month, with Ronaldo set to meet them for the first time after captaining Portugal in Russia over the past few weeks.

According to reports from Portuguese TV channel SIC, the surrogate mother was based on the west coast of the U.S. (I can already hear you guys asking ‘does that mean they’re eligible to play for the USMNT?’). Ronaldo is now the father of three children after already having a seven-year-old son, Cristiano Ronaldo Jr.

Reports also suggest that his 22-year-old girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez is five months pregnant, so soon he could be a father for the fourth time. He would then be able to field a five-a-side team of Ronaldo’s for indoor games…

Below is the post from Ronaldo confirming his departure from Portugal’s squad, which the national team also confirmed, as he is set to meet his new children for the first time.

“I was in the service of the national team, as always, body and soul, even though my two sons were born. Unfortunately, we have not been able to achieve the main sporting objective that we wanted, but I am sure we will continue to give joy to the Portuguese.

“The President of the Portuguese Football Federation and the national picker have today had an attitude that has touched me and I will not forget. I’m very happy to finally be with my children for the first time.”

Open Cup roundup: Poku lifts Miami; Red Bulls, Cincy win on PKs

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While MLS represents the majority of the remaining clubs in this year’s U.S. Open Cup, one side continues to defy the odds.

[ MORE: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson ]

Miami FC reached their first quarterfinal in club history after knocking off Atlanta United late on Wednesday, behind a goal and an assist from Kwadwo Poku. The victory for Miami sets up a date with FC Cincinnati — who pulled off an unbelievable shootout win against the Chicago Fire.

Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution both advanced on the night with wins over the Philadelphia Union and D.C. United, respectively. The Red Bulls and Revs will meet in the final eight as well.

Sporting KC kept its hope of hoisting a fourth U.S. Open Cup title alive on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. The 2015 winners will take on FC Dallas — who defeated the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday night.

Here are all the results from tonight’s Open Cup action.

Houston Dynamo 0-2 Sporting KC
New England Revolution 2-1 D.C. United
Miami FC 3-2 Atlanta United
New York Red Bulls 1-1 (5-3 on PKs) Philadelphia Union
FC Cincinnati 0-0 (3-1 on PKs) Chicago Fire
San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 Seattle Sounders
LA Galaxy 2-0 Sacramento Republic

Report: City Football Group set to expand outreach with Girona deal

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City Football Group appears on the verge of adding to its global outreach, and it’s next destination looks to be in Spain.

[ MORE: Are Southampton’s days of selling behind the club? ]

The group of investors, which are known for controlling Premier League side Manchester City, are reportedly nearing a deal to purchase a partial stake in Spanish club Girona — which is set to make its La Liga debut in 2017/18.

CFG is said to be gaining a near “50 percent” stake in the club, with the rest of the club owned by Media Base, a company owned by Pep Guardiola‘s brother, Pere.

Over recent years, CFG has vastly expanded its ownership outreach and currently has a stake in five clubs around the world, with Girona set to be the sixth.

MLS side New York City FC, Australian A-League side Melbourne City FC, Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos and Club Atletico Torque in Uruguay are all part of the CFG enterprise, alongside Man City.

New York Red Bulls ink goalkeeper Luis Robles to new deal

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The “Iron Man” will keep up his amazing journey with the New York Red Bulls, after signing a new deal with the club on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder on verge of joining Los Angeles FC ]

Goalkeeper Luis Robles has extended his contract with the reigning Eastern Conference champions, as the American continues to raise his consecutive starts streak, which stands at 157.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed in the club’s release.

Robles joined the Red Bulls back in 2012 after playing in Germany, and the shot-stopper hasn’t missed a start ever since.