Steve Cherundolo back on the field, and that is one huge (and underrated) plus for United States

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A big talker among the Yanks abroad brigade last weekend was Clint Dempsey’s huge goal for Tottenham. Atta boy, Duece!

Brad Guzan was topical, too, as awards came a’tumbling his way and West Ham put the U.S. backup ‘keeper on its summer shopping list.

But here was one that fell through the media maven cracks just a bit – but a newsy bit that may be every bit as important in the bigger picture: Steve Cherundolo got back on the field for Hannover 96.

It’s an important development for the longtime U.S. incumbent right back, who was hurt for much of the spring, but did get healthy and back on the field before tumbling out of Die Roten lineup.

Cherundolo lost his place in the Hannover lineup after he was part of the team chewed up by the Bayern Munich machine back on April 20.

It certainly smarts to go down at home by a five-spot. The runaway Bundesliga champs battered Cherundolo’s club that day, 6-1. We mentioned that was in Hannover, right?

Still, that surely wasn’t Cherundolo’s fault. Still, he didn’t appear in the side’s next two matches, an important win at SpVgg Greuther Furth and then a disappointing draw at home to Mainz. He was on the bench for both of those, but appeared in neither.

So last weekend, good news arrived in Cherundolo’s appearance in the starting 11 in Hannover’s loss at Bayer Leverkusen. It marked massive disappointment for Cherundolo’s longtime club, whose Europa League hopes were extinguished for good last weekend at the Bay Arena.

But the silver lining for U.S. fans was getting a game for the veteran defender.

Considering Timothy Chandler’s injury, which depleted the U.S. outside back depth, and considering the youth of Klinsmann’s rebuilt back line, a fit and in-form Cherundolo would mean so much.

Whatever was made of Chandler’s injury and the bigger picture, Cherundolo was always the more important outside back heading into these three critical June qualifiers. He was probably Klinsmann’s first-choice right back all along. Cherundolo has historically been so easy to overlook, but anyone paying close attention can see how much he adds in knowing just when to press into the attack, and in skillful, well-considered crossing from the right side.

Porto, Watford, Hull? Marco Silva in demand

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Marco Silva is one of the hottest properties in management, months after eliciting cries of “Who?” following his appointment at Hull City.

While those cries may have been a tiny bit myopic given his time at Sporting CP and Olympiacos, the 39-year-old is now visible to the world despite Hull’s relegation.

[ MORE: Real Madrid nabs $50m teen ]

Silva will be back in England to meet with Hull on Wednesday, but a clause in his contract that said he could leave if the club was relegated gives the Tigers very little hope.

Rumors have him wanted at Watford, and he’s also been linked with a number of other jobs including Southampton (should the club part ways with Claude Puel).

However, the former right back is also reportedly a target of one of the biggest clubs in his home country: Champions League side Porto.

UEFA Europa League Final preview: Manchester United vs. Ajax

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Jose Mourinho’s big European gamble takes center stage on Wednesday in Sweden, when Manchester United attempts to topple young Ajax in the UEFA Europa League Final.

United’s chances for UEFA Champions League qualification, a magnificent opportunity, are overshadowed by the pall cast over Manchester by sinister terrorist attacks at a pop concert that killed and injured many on Monday night.

Alas, there’s soccer to be played, and Mourinho is looking to make it a trio of shiny items in his first year on the job. United beat Leicester City for the Community Shield, then topped Southampton in the EFL Cup Final en route to Sweden.

United’s well-documented dearth of healthy defenders will march out one more time on Wednesday, with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones tasked with manning the center of the back line. Expect Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian out wide.

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 season reviews

Despite the injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mourinho’s attack is going to give Ajax fits. Marcus Rashford has been next level for most of the second half of the season, and United will also likely feature Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba atop Ander Herrera.

If someone is going to break United down, it could be midfield wizards Davy Klaassen and Lasse Schone. The creative middle men have a variety of options to find with the ball, including on-loan Chelsea man Bertrand Traore and Danish teenager Kasper Dolberg.

But how will they deal with United’s attack? Sure Ajax has stopped Lyon, Schalke, Copenhagen, and Legia Warsaw, but United and Mourinho? That’s another challenge for Peter Bosz and his men.

Ajax won the 1992 UEFA Cup, and this is United’s first ever trip to this particular final. The Red Devils are heavy favorites, and we expect United to prevail. Don’t sleep on Juan Mata heroics. Call it 3-1.

Allardyce resigns, opening up intriguing vacancy at Palace

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Sam Allardyce is walking away on top outside the relegation zone.

The veteran Premier League manager, 62, resigned his post as Crystal Palace on Tuesday, weeks after leading another team to safety.

The move ends a tumultuous eight months for Allardyce, who was fired as England manager after an undercover sting exposed unethical dealings with agents.

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 season reviews

It also comes about an hour after somebody wrote that Crystal Palace should move on from Allardyce. What a jerk, that somebody.

Rarely at a loss for words, here’s Big Sam from cpfc.co.uk:

I want to be able to savour life while I’m still relatively young and when I’m still relatively healthy enough to do all the things I want to do, like travel, spend more time with my family and grandchildren without the huge pressure that comes with being a football manager.

This is the right time for me. I have no ambitions to take another job, I simply want to be able to enjoy all the things you cannot really enjoy with the 24/7 demands of managing any football club, let alone one in the Premier League.”

All kidding aside — and I’m far from a Big Sam fan — congrats to the man on walking away to enjoy the finer things in life. He had a heck of a run, and we’ll see how long he can resist being away from the fray. Cheers, Sam.

Coach Valverde leaves Athletic, will reportedly join Barca

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MADRID (AP) Athletic Bilbao says Ernesto Valverde will not remain as the team’s coach next season, clearing the way for his expected move to Barcelona.

Athletic said Tuesday that the coach will give more details about his departure in a news conference on Wednesday.

The Mundo Deportivo newspaper reported that Valverde has already reached a deal with Barcelona to replace Luis Enrique, who announced earlier this year that he would not continue with the Catalan club.

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 season reviews

Barcelona ends its season after the Copa del Rey final against Alaves on Saturday.

The 53-year-old Valverde reportedly will sign a two-year contract with Barcelona, with an option for a third season. The announcement is expected next week.

A former forward, Valverde played two seasons with Barcelona in the late 1980s.

He previously coached Espanyol, Olympiakos, Villarreal and Valencia.