Kyle Beckerman is the natural choice as U.S. Gold Cup captain

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Now that Jurgen Klinsmann has dropped the Gold Cup roster, only a few lingering questions are left unresolved in terms of personnel. Clearly, which players start in the July tournament is the biggie – and foremost under that big umbrella is how Stuart Holden and Landon Donovan fit into the rotation?

Which players, if any, will be used as reinforcements after the group stage – a threesome of matches that really should come and go without much muss or fuss from Klinsmann “B” team – provides another point for debate.

Then there is the question of the team’s captaincy, something that should be answered soon.

There seems to be just one clear choice: RSL midfielder Kyle Beckerman.

Beckerman is among the most experienced players on Klinsmann’s 23-man roster announced Thursday, and until last fall was a starter for the U.S. manager. He’s been lapped in his position by Danny Williams and Jermaine Jones, the current top choice at holding midfielder, but remains just beyond the first-team pool.

Klinsmann likes Beckerman’s professionalism and the all-soccer, all-the-time mentality he brings to daily training sessions. Which is why the manager chose Beckerman to captain the United States earlier this year in a friendly with Canada (a 0-0 draw down in Houston).

Clarence Goodson, on the roster for World Cup 2010 and also on this year’s Gold Cup roster, is another reasonable choice. Nor would anyone turn up their nose at DaMarcus Beasley as captain.

Otherwise, the options begin looking a bit slim for different reasons. Landon Donovan, attempting to humbly demonstrate he can fit into the bigger group, probably isn’t the wisest of choices at the moment. Everyone respects Stuart Holden, but he’s got plenty on his plate just to demonstrate that the touch and fitness is still within him.

Chris Wondolowski has a lot of experience, but his form is just so-so, which means he may not be starting.

Europa League Preview: Everton, Milan look to make group stage

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Everton look to make it back into the Europa League group stage for the first time since the 2014-2015 season and it has a two-goal advantage heading into the second leg of its tie.

Ronald Koeman and co. travel to Croatia to face Hadjuk Split Thursday having won the first leg at Goodison Park, 2-0. Everton is coming off a hard-fought draw on Monday with Manchester City and will be on short rest heading into the match.

Elsewhere in Europa League action, AC Milan take its 6-0 aggregate lead to Skopje, Macedonia as the legendary club looks to return to the group stage of a European competition for the first time since 2013-2014.

Here’s a look at all of Thursday’s Europa League matches, with the current aggregate scores:

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EFL Cup Rewind: Southampton, Newcastle knocked out by Championship sides

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Last season, Southampton made it to the EFL Cup final. This year, it’s a different story.

The Saints were bounced by Wolverhampton Wanderers, 2-0 at home on Wednesday in the second round of the cup. Joining Southampton of Premier League sides going home early was Newcastle, which lost 3-2 after extra time at home against Nottingham Forest.

Four other Premier League sides did advance to the third round, as Stoke City, Huddersfield Town, West Ham United and Burnley all won their fixtures.

Here’s a look at the rest of Wednesday’s EFL Cup action:

Blackburn 0-2 Burnley

Cheltenham 0-2 West Ham

Huddersfield 2-1 Rotherham

Newcastle 2-3 Nottingham Forest

Southampton 0-2 Wolverhampton

Stoke City 4-0 Rochdale

Breaking down who each Premier League team could face in the UCL Group Stage

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The UEFA Champions League group stage lineup is complete, with five Premier League clubs making the list.

On Wednesday, Liverpool joined Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United in the group stage after beating Hoffenheim, 6-3 on aggregate in the playoff qualification round.

Thursday’s Champions League draw (2 p.m. ET) will place clubs into groups of four, where they’ll play three matches at home and away.

Here’s a look at the four coefficient pots and who each Premier League club could face:

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Follow Live – Texas Derby, Cascadia Cup headline busy night of MLS action

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Welcome to MLS Rivalry Week.

The surging Houston Dynamo could move to first place in the Western Conference with a win over rivals FC Dallas while the current first-place side, the Seattle Sounders travel north and across the border to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

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The Dynamo have made an impressive turnaround under coach Wilmer Cabrera and he’ll have the trio of Ricardo Clark, Alberth Elis and star forward Erick Torres available to face Dallas after missing the Dynamo’s match at Vancouver last weekend, which ended 2-1 in favor of the Whitecaps.

FC Dallas are in its worst form of the season, winless in its last four games, but the team will be extra motivated to beat its rivals.

El Capitan is on the line after draws between FC Dallas and the Dynamo in two matches earlier this season.

Meanwhile up in Vancouver, the Whitecaps host a Sounders squad that pulled out a last-gasp victory last weekend over Minnesota United. While the team is in great form on the road recently (two wins and two draws), the top story heading into the game is the unexpected absence of Joevin Jones, who left the Sounders for his home in Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the upcoming international break.

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On the other side, Fredy Montero faces his former club and carries an interesting record into Wednesday’s match. Of his 35 MLS goals, 11 have been scored against Cascadia Cup competition.

Here’s a look at Wednesday’s action:

Full schedule

Columbus Crew vs. LA Galaxy – 7:30 p.m. ET

D.C. United vs. Atlanta United – 7:30 p.m.ET

FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo – 8 p.m. ET

Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union – 8 p.m. ET

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes – 10 p.m. ET

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders – 10 p.m. ET

Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids – 10:30 p.m. ET