Dwayne De Rosario suspended. We all saw it coming, right?

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D.C. United playmaker Dwayne De Rosario will miss two matches, including Saturday’s opener at Houston and his own team’s home opener a week later, suspended by MLS for two games after head butting Danny Cruz on Feb. 23.

We all knew this was coming – or was quite likely at very least. As we talked about yesterday on the blog, the irony is that De Rosario, the 2011 league MVP, would have been making his first start since last August. And then he goes and does this.

Even United manager Ben Olsen could not object with a straight face – and good for United’s young coach for neither defending nor dismissing De Rosario’s lack of composure. What Olsen told the Washington Post.

I would love to defend Dwayne or my players, but this one, I can’t necessarily do that. I just hope this is the last one we have to deal with because it affects us negatively and we have to clean it up.”

It is unclear when United was alerted, most likely on Thursday. This is important, as clubs do become rightly upset when the league moves slowly on suspension alerts.

(UPDATE at 9:32 a.m. … MLS spokesman Will Kuhns alerted me via email that United was informed on Tuesday evening; teams may not make the news public until later, depending on the appeal process.)

Saturday’s match, the best of opening day in MLS, in Houston is a 8 p.m ET on NBC Sports Network.

There is one more thing that needs to be said here:

De Rosario has been guilty of losing his cool on the field before – but he has reliably gotten away with it, pushing or lashing out at players during those silly mini-melees that we tend to see. (Those are the very same mini-melees MLS is now endeavoring to tamp down.)  But MLS didn’t get serious until last year at creating consequences for the little shenanigans that can turn up the temperature on an otherwise manageable moment.

Not saying De Rosario is blameless for what he did to Philadelphia’s Cruz. He is certainly responsible. On the other hand, Major League Soccer’s previous foot-dragging on discipline enforcement shares some blame here, too.

Men in Blazers: Jurgen Klopp talks loss of Coutinho and more

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Roger Bennett talks with manager Jurgen Klopp about revolutionizing Liverpool, his Greatest Show on Turf-esque offense, the loss of Philippe Coutinho and how he keeps football in perspective.

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MLS: Higuain extends with Crew, Royer gets new deal with Red Bulls

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Two key midfielders earned new deals on Thursday, as two of the Eastern Conference’s recent successes helped solidify for their attacks for the next few years.

The Columbus Crew extended Designated Player attacker Federico Higuain through the 2019 MLS season.

Higuain has been with the Crew since 2012, when the Argentine joined the club from Colon de Santa Fe in his native country.

Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls extended Daniel Royer’s contract, as the Austrian winger in the midst of his third season with Jesse Marsch’s group.

Thus far, Royer has tallied 17 goals in all competitions for the Red Bulls, including 15 during the 2017 campaign, where the former Midtjylland player finished second on the team in goals behind Bradley Wright-Phillips.

UEL: Griezmann nabs crucial away goal vs. Arsenal, Marseille cruises

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A game of back-and-forth at the Emirates Stadium set up an enticing second leg in the UEFA Europa League semifinals, while a Ligue 1 side positioned itself well to move into the final.

[ MORE: Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks ]

Arsenal and Atletico Madrid settled for a 1-1 draw in London, as Antoine Griezmann’s late strike leveled the match for the Spanish side.

The Gunners looked on their way to a victory when Alexandre Lacazette‘s goal just beyond the hour mark put Arsene Wenger‘s men in front.

The result sets up a strong showdown for the two giants in a week’s time, although Arsenal will feel it left something on the table after racking up 26 shots (seven on target) on the day, particularly after Sime Vrsaljko was sent off after 10 minutes for the visitors when he picked up a second yellow card.

Meanwhile, Florian Thauvin and Clinton Njie gave Marseille a 2-0 win over Red Bull Leipzig, giving the French side the edge it sought out ahead of the competition finale.

The two clubs will meet again at Red Bull Arena Salzburg for the second leg.


Arsenal 1-1 Atletico Madrid
Marseille 2-0 Red Bull Salzburg

Europa League, LIVE: Arsenal, Marseille host first legs

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Diego Costa brings a solid career record against Arsenal back to London in a bid to ruin Arsene Wenger‘s farewell season at the Emirates Stadium.

[ FOLLOW: Arsenal vs. Atleti ]

The now-Atletico Madrid forward returns to England on Thursday as his La Liga outfit aims to stop Arsenal from reaching next month’s Europa League Final in Lyon.

[ FOLLOW: Marseille vs. Red Bull Salzburg ]

That’s a 3:05 p.m. ET kickoff, the same as Marseille’s date with Red Bull Salzburg in France.

ARSENAL-ATLETICO MADRID LINEUPS

Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Xhaka, Wilshere, Ramsey, Welbeck, Ozil, Lacazette. Subs: Cech, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Chambers, Kolasinac, Iwobi, Nketiah.

Atleti: Oblak, Lucas, Godin, Gimenez, Vrsaljko, Saul, Thomas, Koke, Correa, Griezmann, Gameiro. Subs: Werner, Savic, Gabi, Vitolo, Olabe, Torres, Costa.