Mauro Rosales in precarious position at Seattle Sounders FC

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SEATTLE — The writing on the wall isn’t getting any better for Mauro Rosales. At this point, it’s hard to see him back in a Seattle Sounders FC jersey next season.

After Saturday’s 1-1 tie with the Colorado Rapids, Rosales has gone 548 minutes (eight full appearances) without a goal or an assist. The 2013 season has starkly contrasted with his previous two in the Emerald City, when he was the offensive metronome for the club with eight goals and 26 assists over 53 games.

So far this year, he has two goals and three assists in 17 matches. For both good and bad players, statistics don’t tell the whole story — but in this case, that doesn’t necessarily help Rosales. Head coach Sigi Schmid, for one, seems to be less than impressed with the 32-year-old Argentine’s recent play.

“I thought he played with a lot of energy and some things came off of it,” he said after Saturday’s game. “I thought today was a better game for him.”

The key word in that statement: “better.” A poor run of results for the Sounders — 1-3-1 in the last five games — is bound to make their coach grumpy, but Rosales wasn’t feeling much better when he talked to reporters separately.

“I feel OK. [I’d] just like to get confidence again,” he said. “When you are [lacking] confidence, sometimes you need more minutes … and I’m not getting that. I have to work and try to do what I have to do in the minutes that I get.”

Injuries have kept Rosales from getting minutes in years past and earlier this season, and his age won’t help him in that regard. However, he said he finally feels healthy.

“I didn’t expect [to be substituted against Colorado],” Rosales said. “I have to respect the decision of the coach. I was feeling very good in the game, and my time was over early. It was just because I don’t want it; it doesn’t mean that I don’t respect the coach’s decision.”

These days, the coach’s patience seems to be fairly short for a player who still wears the captain’s armband when he starts. Brad Evans started the last two games on the right wing (a 1-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes and a 2-0 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps) before suffering a rib contusion against San Jose last week that forced a change.

At the start of those two matches, a healthy Rosales sat on the bench, although he did make appearances. Schmid said Evans could be available to start again on Sunday against Chivas USA, so Rosales could again find himself as surplus.

(More: Mauro Rosales also being linked with move out of Seattle [from Jan. 5])

But can Seattle afford to keep a Designated Player, who will make a guaranteed $225,000 in 2013, on the bench? That cap space could be used to sign another player, and the DP slot would likely entice a number of stars to don rave green and play in front of crowds of 38,000-plus people every week.

If he is willing to take a massive pay cut, that might add some fire back to Rosales’ game. In his first year with the Sounders, he was a steal, making just above the league minimum at $42,000 and setting the club assists record.

However, not many players willingly take reductions, even if they are happy at their clubs. If Seattle fails to make the playoffs this year, the best playmaker in the club’s short MLS history could be the first casualty.

WATCH: Camila’s wicked swerving goal for Brazil

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The Tournament of Nations got underway earlier Thursday, with Brazil and Japan drawing 1-1 in Seattle.

While some in the crowd may’ve been waiting to see the United States women’s national team and Australia in the second game of the twin bill, they got an absolute treat from Brazil’s Camila.

[ MORE: Galaxy’s season-changing signing ]

The Orlando Pride midfielder is yet to scoop up 10 caps, but blasted this 25-yard goal home with a wicked outside bend.

The aesthetics are terrific.

LA Galaxy’s second Dos Santos signing is a season-changer

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Remember this day, MLS fans, as one that perhaps helped determine an MLS Cup Finalist.

The LA Galaxy have signed Villarreal midfielder and Mexican national teamer Jonathan Dos Santos, and he’s the sort of player who could alter the landscape of the Western Conference.

Like Nicolas Lodeiro to Seattle last season and New England’s addition of Jermaine Jones in 2014, Dos Santos’ move comes with the distinct possibility of elevating LA into the next stratosphere.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

Take the Galaxy’s history of winning, and toss in a midseason coaching improvement from Curt Onalfo to Sigi Schmid, as well as MVP-in-their-own-right caliber teammates Giovani Dos Santos, Romain Alessandrini, and Jelle van Damme.

Don’t sleep on the fact that Schmid might be gathering momentum from inheriting a talented and underachieving roster and a brand new game-changing midfielder, which feels a bit like karmic retribution for Seattle firing him and signing Lodeiro the next day last season. Seattle only went and won the MLS Cup.

Schmid has used any number of formations, but could deploy a 4-3-3 with Jona Dos Santos, Jermaine Jones, and Joao Pedro in the midfielder and Giovani Dos Santos, Alessandrini, and Gyasi Zardes up top (Sebastian Lletget could return at some point, too).

Now FC Dallas is very deep, Sporting KC looks powerful, and Seattle won it all last year — plus, may be adding Derlis Gonzalez?!? — but LA’s move to add Dos Santos creates a quartet of teams with proven mettle (Houston looks decent, too, but I have concerns about their first-time as a unit in the playoffs).

Joey Barton’s gambling ban lowered by almost 5 months

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Joey Barton’s 18-month ban for betting on almost 1,300 soccer-related events has been lowered to 13 months and one week.

Putting aside the hilarity of grown men and women discussing whether an extra week was necessary, the alteration means he’ll be eligible to return to football on June 1, 2018.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

While that still hampers the idea of the 34-year-old playing again — he’ll be 36 when the ban ends — it’s a significant change if he’s open to the idea of returning to the game.

Barton’s original ban expired in late October 2018, well into a season. From Sky Sports:

The appeal board also agreed: “It was clear that Mr Barton was not involved in any cheating, he did not influence any games and there was nothing suspicious about his bets.

“(The reduction) reflects the overall seriousness of the breaches and also the mitigation of Mr Barton’s addiction.”

Barton’s remarkably controversial career has including several suspensions and imprisonment, but he always found his way back to the field and was very good when in form. After time at Manchester City and Newcastle United, Barton fended off naysayers with stints at QPR, Marseille, Burnley, and a regrettable move to Rangers.

We may see him on the field in August 2018.

FIFA fines Qatar after players’ political support for Emir

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has fined Qatar’s soccer federation after national team players breached rules against political statements by displaying T-shirts of the country’s Emir at a World Cup qualifier.

FIFA says its disciplinary panel imposed a 50,000 Swiss francs ($51,800) fine and reprimanded Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host.

[ MORE: Nainggolan staying at Roma ]

The incident happened in Doha on June 13, amid a dispute with regional rivals Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Qatar’s players warmed up for a 3-2 win over South Korea wearing white T-shirts with an image of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to show their support for him.

FIFA says the charges related to “displaying a political image” and “political displays” by spectators.