Seattle Sounders v FC Dallas

MLS Preview: FC Dallas at Seattle Sounders

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This one is a biggy, there’s no getting away from it.

FC Dallas will roll into Seattle with the weight of expectation on their shoulders. How they deal with that will give a pretty good indication, as to whether or not they can remain at the summit of the Western conference until the end of the season.

We’re watching you, FCD.

As for the home side, they’re finding their feet again after early season struggles. The Sounders are still 8th in the West but with last weekends 4-0 win over San Jose still fresh, Sigi Schmid’s charges will be full of confidence heading into this one.

A packed house in Seattle will be cheering on the Rave Green as they aim to make it three wins in a row and six games unbeaten. But Dallas have only lost once all season and aren’t about to start handing out points willy-nilly.

Schellas Hyndman’s side are solid defensively, have got plenty of options going forward and, most importantly, they’re keeping everyone fit. David Ferreira is pulling the strings and Jackson, Eric Hassli, Kenny Cooper and Blas Perez will cause problems for any defense.

This match has the potential to go either way. It could be a goal-fest with both times going hell for leather and putting on a real spectacle at CenturyLink. Or it could be a damp squib. With both teams content to settle for a point and extend their unbeaten streaks. I’m hoping for the former.

(More: Best week for Seattle since… hmmmm)

With Obafemi Martins nearing full-fitness for Seattle, here we have the difference maker. He is the DP that the Sounders waited so long to get and already he’s shown glimpses of what he can bring to the table.

He is a clinical finisher and if he get’s the chance, he will score.

Meanwhile Dallas just doesn’t know who to put out there. Which is a delightful problem for Hyndman to have after the injury struggles of the past two seasons. Schellas is spoiled for choice.

While Sounders head coach Schmid certainly believes they’re up against a top team. “This is our first game with them and it becomes a really good measuring stick for us,” Schmid said. “They’re a good team, they’re an exciting team, they score goals, they’ve played a good amount of games at home at this stage, as well, so us catching them here is good for us.”

(More: A “good” three points for league-leading FC Dallas)

Dallas will be hoping to grab a win and send out yet another message to the league that they’re the team to beat this season. Can they do it? I think not.

Yes, FC Dallas have lost just once and look the real deal this season. However, only four of their 11 games have been away from home. Those have all come against struggling teams: Chivas USA, New England, Toronto and Vancouver. Saturday’s game is their first huge test on the road this season.

(More: Watch Mauro Rosales’ incredible free kick goal)

Seattle are on a roll, confidence is high and the goals are flowing. But in the past the Sounders have been prone to over confidence. That said, I expect them to record a big win against Dallas to reinforce their status as one of the best sides in the West. (Saturday, 10:30pm ET, Watch live on MLSsoccer.com via Free stream of the week)

Wales manager says Arsenal could have avoided Aaron Ramsey injury

GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN - AUGUST 07: Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal during the Pre-Season Friendly between Arsenal and Manchester City at Ullevi on August 7, 2016 in Gothenburg, Sweden. (Photo by Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello/Getty Images)
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Wales manager Chris Coleman says Arsenal could have prevented Aaron Ramsey‘s current hamstring injury had they left him out of the early-season matches.

Ramsey was withdrawn in 62nd minute of Arsenal’s season opener against Liverpool after pulling up, and Coleman believes it happened for a reason. “It’s disappointing he’s got an injury. Could it have been prevented? Possibly, yes,” Coleman told the media ahead of the international window. “I think we all expected him to [miss the start of the season]. So I don’t know what happened between then and when he ended up on the pitch. Obviously only Arsenal can answer that. I think, to a man, if you were looking at [Arsenal’s team-sheet], it was a bit of a surprise he started.”

Ramsey helped Wales progress to the Euro 2016 semifinals. Many starts from countries that went deep in the Euros got a rest to start the season. Many of France’s team members, including Dimitri Payet and even Ramsey’s Arsenal teammate Olivier Giroud saw time off to start the Premier League season.

“When you’ve got a player as good as Aaron, take him out of any team and you are going to know about it,” Coleman said. “He is irreplaceable. He makes a huge impact for us. He is a great player and it’s a shame he’s not here. He’s a loss to any team.”

Wales has a World Cup qualifier against Moldova on September 5.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City SC 1-2 Toronto FC

TORONTO, ON - MAY 07:  Sebastian Giovinco #10 of Toronto FC dribbles the ball during the second half of an MLS soccer game against FC Dallas at BMO Field on May 7, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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The game in 100 words (or less): The Orlando City defense played a 75 minute match, and those 15 minutes off cost them the match. A pair of sleepy moments early and late in the match saw Toronto bag two goals on the road and leave Citrus Bowl Stadium with all three points. Sebastian Giovinco had the assists on both, a pair of perfectly timed through balls – one over the top and one through the middle – sprung the Toronto strikers.

Three moments that mattered

7′ – Toronto had a dream start just seven minutes in when a looping ball from Sebastian Giovinco found Tousaint Ricketts. He torched Tommy Redding down the right, breaking free on goal and finishing the one-on-one chance around Joe Bednik cooly.

56′ – Greg Vanney’s anger was doubled. First, the Toronto FC manager was left seething at a foul called as Marco Delgado clipped Matias Garcia and gave Orlando a set-piece opportunity. In the ensuing spell of possession, a cross from Luke Boden met the head of Clye Larin, who deposited it into the back of the net. A stone-faced Vanney was left seething on the bench as the home side leveled it up at 1-1.

86′ – Jozy Altidore came off the bench to finish off the game, and while he had a horrible miss just minutes into the game, he atoned at the end. The visitors again caught the Orlando defense completely asleep, with the back line pressed way high up the pitch. Altidore timed his run perfectly, and the hosts didn’t even attempt to catch up. One-on-one, the USMNT striker finished easily.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Sebastian Giovinco

Goalscorers: Ricketts 7′, Larin 56′, Altidore 86′

Men In Blazers podcast: Leicester vs. Arsenal, plus wins for Mourinho, Pep, and Conte

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Rog and Davo recap the discordant draw that was Leicester vs. Arsenal and break down perfect starts for Mourinho, Pep and Antonio Conte.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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Hope Solo suspended from USWNT for 6 months, contract terminated

KANSAS CITY, KS - JULY 22:  Goalkeeper Hope Solo #1 of the United States in action during the game against Costa Rica at Children's Mercy Park on July 22, 2016 in Kansas City, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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U.S. Soccer has announced that Hope Solo has been suspended from the USWNT for six months following the comments she made about Sweden’s performance in the quarterfinal match that saw the U.S. eliminated from the 2016 Olympics in the quarterfinals.

Sweden played a defensively-minded match, which finished in a 1-1 draw and progressed to penalties, where Sweden defeated the reigning World Cup champions. Solo told reporters following the match that “I think we played a bunch of cowards” and “the best team did not win.”

[ MORE: Transfer needs for all 20 PL teams ]

“The comments by Hope Solo after the match against Sweden during the 2016 Olympics were unacceptable and do not meet the standard of conduct we require from our National Team players,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati in a statement on Wednesday evening. “Beyond the athletic arena, and beyond the results, the Olympics celebrate and represent the ideals of fair play and respect. We expect all of our representatives to honor those principles, with no exceptions. ”

The statement said that prior incidents were considered “as well as the private conversations we’ve had requiring her to conduct herself in a manner befitting a U.S. National Team member” when determining the length of the suspension. Solo was suspended in 30 days back in 2015 for a build-up of conduct issues. Even considering her prior conduct problems, the length of suspension is surprising for simply inflammatory comments, but U.S. Soccer made it clear in the statement that there is likely more to this than meets the eye.

[ MORE: Top 15 USMNT prospects under 23 ]

With the six-month layoff, Solo will be eligible to return to the team in February of 2017. The team has just two more matches scheduled for the remainder of 2016. She can still play for her club team Seattle Reign during the suspension. There was another term of punishment levied on Solo:

Other reports have confirmed that, because U.S. Soccer pays her club contract as well, only her national team portion of the contract was revoked.

“During our current National Team camp, Hope made a poor decision that has resulted in a negative impact on U.S. Soccer and her teammates,” coach Jill Ellis said in a separate statement. “We feel at this time it is best for her to step away from the team.”

Solo responded to the suspension, saying, “I apologize for disappointing my teammates, coaches and the Federation who have always supported me,” she wrote. “I think it’s best for me to take a break, decompress from the stress of the last several months, and come back mentally and physically ready to positively contribute to the team.”

[ MORE: Yedlin, Newcastle make it official ]

While Hope Solo seems to accept the decision, the player’s union isn’t so much.