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Brad Guzan back to MLS? Sure … but not anytime soon

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Here’s the thing to ask yourself when American soccer heroes abroad are queried about whether they will return to Major League Soccer one day:

What else are they ever going to say?

For that matter, when Cristiano Ronaldo or any of the game’s global luminaries are asked about playing “one day” in MLS, what harm in saying “Heck yeah … I think I’d like to play there someday and enjoy life in that wonderful country!”

So we shouldn’t all Harlem Shaky when a right-proper soccer hero talks about coming to MLS or coming home to MLS, which would be the case with Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan. The current U.S. international backup began his professional career at Chivas USA.

He’s now the established No. 1 at Villa Park. Establishment as an English Premier League starter is pretty much the be-all, end-all, the career summit for a goalkeeper. Guzan is there at age 28!  The only upward move from here would be to a better club, one perhaps challenging for European hardware, whether that’s in England, Germany, Spain or wherever.

(MORE: It’s been a good year at Villa Park for Guzan. Seriously.)

Yes, I am positive the Illinois man and his family would love to return stateside at some point. But let’s not kid ourselves here. If things go right for Guzan we are talking about rediscovering his MLS roots somewhere past the year 2020. Let that sink in.

Here’s the “Would you ever … ” quote du jour. It’s from a piece in the Express and Star:

Would I like to return to MLS one day? Yes, definitely. I was only a kid when I first went into MLS and it was still growing. To see now from watching the highlights on the internet and TV just how far it has come.

“Hopefully, I will get the opportunity, when I’m finished playing in Europe, to go back and play in it. Especially being from Chicago, I’d love to go back and play for the Chicago Fire in front of friends and family. That would be pretty neat.”

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.

Statement from suspended UEFA president Michel Platini

Michel Platini, UEFA & FIFA
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Statement from suspended UEFA President Michel Platini:

Early this afternoon, I was informed of the FIFA ethics committee’s decision to impose on me a provisional 90-day suspension with immediate effect. That decision, which I will of course contest in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time, had already been the subject of a deliberate leak, and I gave my opinion on that earlier in the day.

I reject all of the allegations that have been made against me, which are based on mere semblances and are astonishingly vague. Indeed, the wording of those allegations merely states that a breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics “seems to have been committed” and that a decision on the substance of the matter cannot be taken immediately.

Despite the farcical nature of these events, I refuse to believe that this is a political decision taken in haste in order to taint a lifelong devotee of the game or crush my candidacy for the FIFA presidency.

I want everyone to know my state of mind: more than a sense of injustice or a desire for revenge, I am driven by a profound feeling of staunch defiance. I am more determined than ever to defend myself before the relevant judicial bodies.

I want to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that I will devote myself to ensuring that my good faith prevails. I have received numerous messages of support today from UEFA’s member associations and the other confederations encouraging me to continue my work serving football’s interests. Nothing will make me give up on that commitment.