MLS Preview: New York Red Bulls at Philadelphia Union

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After almost three weeks off from MLS action the New York Red Bulls are back, with a trip to rivals Philadelphia in the I-95 derby.

Mike Petke’s side have been stewing over a 2-1 defeat to the Vancouver Whitecaps back on June 1, as they aim to keep the pressure up on Eastern conference leaders, the Montreal Impact.

While the Union haven’t been in MLS action for a while either, with their 3-0 win against the Columbus Crew back on June 5 their last league outing.

So will both teams be rusty and come out slowly in this one? I doubt it.

Since Philadelphia joined MLS, this rivalry has intensified, with the close proximity of both cities leading to sizable away followings at each stadium.

The atmosphere created around these games is always exciting and the ‘Sons of Ben’ supporters group will be looking to give New York a hostile reception at PPL Park.

Plus this year there’s an extra edge, as the Union are challenging New York for a playoff place after their struggles for much of last season.

(MORE: MLS Insider looks at the Sons of Ben)

But how will this game pan out? Well, back on March 30 New York triumphed 2-1 at Red Bull Arena thanks to a late goal from Thierry Henry to give Petke his first win as an MLS coach. Since then Petke is finding his feet as New York went seven games unbeaten before that lass to Vancouver last time out. While the Union have lost just two of their last seven and have a game in hand of New York and are just three points behind them.

A win on Sunday would be huge for John Hackworth’s side, as they aim to make a statement that they should be mentioned in the same breath as Sporting KC, Montreal, Houston and New York as contenders for the Eastern conference crown.

The Union will be pulling out all the stops to get the win, and with forward Jack McInerney leading the MLS goalscoring charts, New York have to lock him down.

As far as injuries and suspensions go, New York will be missing Jamison Olave and Juninho through suspension while Philadelphia have a clean bill of health. Tim Cahill is returning from his triumphant international duty, as Australia qualified for Brazil 2014.

Disappointing defeats in the U.S. Open Cup has left both sides desperate to get back out on the field, so expect a rough and tumble affair, especially in the early knockings.

Here’s a stat for you, both coaches have 100 percent records in this fixture… Hackworth has lost on all three occasions against the Red Bulls, while Petke is 1-for-1 against Philly.

Who can steer their side to victory down by the banks of the Delaware River this evening? Kick off is 5pm ET, the game is live on ESPN.

Soccer world reacts to the Manchester attacks

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NBC News is reporting that at least 19 people have been killed and another 50 are injured following a possible suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

Multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials who are monitoring British authorities told NBC News that preliminary reports indicate that a single explosion took place outside the arena on the southwest side opposite the train station. The explosion occurred as the concert ended, catching people as they exited.

Soccer personalities around the world are reacting to the horrible event.

Juventus purchases Cuadrado from Chelsea

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If you didn’t realize Juan Cuadrado still belonged to Chelsea, you’re forgiven.

The Colombian attacker will complete his second season at Juventus after the UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid, and won’t be headed back to Chelsea afterwards.

Juve has purchased Cuadrado, and the fee is $22 million, and Juve will pay it over three seasons. Cuadrado, 28, is now signed through 2020 with The Old Lady.

Cuadrado first went on loan to Juve in Aug. 2015, and has eight goals and 18 assists in 83 career appearances with the club.

Chelsea bought Cuadrado from Fiorentina for around $32 million in the January 2015 transfer window, but made just 14 appearances with the club.

Report: Jermain Defoe meeting with Bournemouth

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Sky Sports is reporting that Jermain Defoe may head back to the south of England following Sunderland’s relegation.

Defoe, 34, spent two seasons with Portsmouth between 2008-09, scoring 15 goals in 31 appearances.

[ MORE: ‘The Moment’ of each PL club’s season ]

The 56-times capped England striker had a clause in his Sunderland contract allowing him to leave the Stadium of Light were the Black Cats to be relegated, as they were this season. He’d have little interest in dropping into the Championship given his desire to stay a part of the England squad ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

Bournemouth’s strike corps includes Joshua King, who scored the most goals of any player not on a Top Seven side this season. King’s 16 goals were one more than Defoe’s 15, though the latter scored just one goal following a brace against Crystal Palace on Feb. 4.

Chelsea’s Conte wins pair of top managerial honors

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Antonio Conte took league and national honors from the League Managers Association on Monday night.

The Chelsea boss was named Premier League Manager of the Year and Manager of the Year after leading the Blues to the PL title and an FA Cup Final in his first year on the job.

Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton nabbed another Championship boss of the year award after leading the Gulls to the Premier League. He also won the honor with Newcastle United in 2010.

The League One winner is Chris Wilder of Sheffield United. Wilder won the honor with Northampton Town last season.

In League Two, Paul Cook of Portsmouth was named the winner.