It’s the summer of Landon Donovan! A new, more playful version, apparently

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What a summer this is turning into for once-and-again U.S national team golden boy game-changer Landon Donovan.

He’s scoring goals, arranging more of them for appreciative teammates, making general mayhem for Gold Cup opposition … and showing some personality along the way, too!

It’s not like Donovan has been some shrinking violet in terms of public persona; he’s been the absolute face of U.S. Soccer for more than a decade, generally willing to participate in media sessions, ad and marketing campaigns, public service announcements, etc.

But the Galaxy and national team all-time leading scorer generally handles his public business with a business-like delivery. He’s a serious sort, almost a bit brooding, even. That may sound a bit like a criticism, but it really isn’t. After all, the guy has always been squeaky clean, and isn’t that saying a lot in a time when guys named Armstrong, Braun, Rodriguez and Hernandez are doing everything they can prove what kind of detestable figures big-time athletes can be?

In other words, if Donovan leans a bit to the serious side, that doesn’t even rate as misdemeanor in the court of public opinion.

(MORE: Man of the Match vs. El Salvador, Landon Donovan)

So it’s nice to see Donovan folding a bit more “personality” into his personal mix, demonstrating a bit of a playful side. We haven’t seen much of that since the very young and blindingly blonde Donovan tore off his shirt to reveal a sports bra a dozen years ago in a famous MLS All-Star shenanigan.

Yes, he did  that. There is photographic evidence and everything right here.

Sunday, I personally enjoyed the “Shawshank-Andy Dufresne” goal celebration. (If you don’t get the reference, ask any male over 30, who has seen that movie at least 15 times, I guarantee.)

LA Galaxy blogger Adam Serrano seemed to prefer Donovan’s playful sideline bit with the projectile sunglasses thrown toward him in Baltimore. The referee’s assistant, however, clearly did not find as much humor in the moment.

See it and read about it all here.

 

USMNT: Brooks out with hip strain; World Cup qualifiers loom

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John Brooks is out of Hertha Berlin’s lineup “for the time being” after scans revealed a hip strain suffered in this weekend’s win over Wolfsburg.

That’s all Hertha has said, and that makes it hard to imagine whether American fans should be a little concerned or very concerned ahead of the USMNT’s World Cup qualifiers against Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago in early June.

Brooks was unavailable for two weeks with an adductor strain in September, missing a month before returning to the starting lineup.

The U.S. center back pool isn’t teeming after Brooks and Geoff Cameron. Matt Besler, Tim Ream, Omar Gonzalez, and Walker Zimmerman were called up for the last World Cup qualifiers, and Gonzalez struggled but is a Bruce Arena favorite from their time in L.A.

WATCH: Snazzy Sargent goal leads U.S. U-17s past Mexico

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Josh Sargent scored a pretty goal as the United States Soccer program had another banner day against Mexico.

Nearly two months to the day after the U.S. U-20 side beat Mexico for the first time in 31 years, the U.S. U-17 topped El Tri for the first time ever. That win snapped Mexico’s 25-match unbeaten streak.

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The goal is the first of Sargent’s two goals, as the 16-year-old latched onto a long diagonal ball and used his right foot and head to move the ball into position for a strong shot.

The U.S. clinches a spot in the next round of U-17 World Cup qualifying with one match remaining in group play.

Sargent is from St. Louis and plays with Scott Gallagher-Missouri. Former Philadelphia Union coach John Hackworth coaches the U.S. U-17s.

Heads of South American soccer sent $128M in bank transfers

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SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) The leaders of South America’s soccer confederation transferred $128.6 million between 2000 and 2015 to personal accounts, suspicious accounts, or unauthorized third-party accounts, according to an audit released Wednesday by Ernst & Young.

According to the audit presented to the annual CONMEBOL congress in the Chilean capital, the confederation’s former president Nicolas Leoz transferred $26.9 million to his personal accounts. Leoz was the president for 27 years until resigning in 2013 for what he said were health reasons.

The audit also found $58 million in payments “to third parties without adequate documentation,” payments of $33.3 million to “unidentified accounts,” and $10.4 million to “suspicious third-parties.”

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“We had said that we would have four pillars, and the first two pillars were clear accounts and accountability,” said Alejandro Dominguez, the president of CONMEBOL who commissioned the audit last year. “Today we are accountable to the leaders and the whole world of football.”

Leoz, 88, is one of three ex-presidents of CONMEBOL accused on corruption charges by the United States Department of Justice. He is in Paraguay fighting extradition to the United States.

The South American body has been plagued by corruption, which was exposed two years ago during the FIFA scandal. Leoz’s two successors, Eugenio Figueredo and Juan Angel Napout, were both arrested on corruption charges.

“I’m here, I’m the manager” – Moyes will not quit Sunderland

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This has been one horrible stretch for David Moyes.

The Sunderland manager probably thought he’d been through the worst once he left Real Sociedad, where he went 12-15-15.

But he’s managed just seven wins and seven draws in 38 matches in charge of the Black Cats — an 18 percent win mark. He’s also been charged for threatening to slap a female journalist.

[ PL PREVIEW: Manchester Derby ]

And after Wednesday, Moyes has lost both of his derby matches against Middlesbrough.

Sunderland is 12 points back of safety with five matches left. The odds the Black Cats are headed for the Championship are somewhere north of 99 percent, and fans are calling for his job.

Well, he isn’t quitting. From the BBC:

“No, I’m here, I’m the manager, you take it on the chin. … I’m a football supporter, I know what it’s like. You don’t like seeing your team lose.

“There is nobody who wants to win more than me. I am used to winning, I’m not used to losing and I don’t want to get used to it either.”