United States national team update with two World Cup qualifiers ahead

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Standard operating procedure under U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann has been to name the roster for coming qualifiers about the time the players are arriving. (Leading some reporters to joke about “scooping” U.S. Soccer by standing around the airport and Tweeting out the American soccer arrivals.)

With a little good fortune, U.S. Soccer may be able to release the roster on Thursday, more than a week ahead of next week’s match at Costa Rica. (It’s the rematch for the Snow Clasico, and don’t think for the second the Ticos and all their fans have forgiving or forgotten about that bit late-winter craziness.)

(MORE: Snow Clasico, field level highlights of the surreal night)

If the right notifications can go out to the right clubs and players, Klinsmann will announce and then talk about the roster sometime on Thursday, probably in a national conference call with media.

Either way, the team will begin gathering in Miami on Sunday, with some of the players not arriving until Monday. They will train in South Florida on Monday and Tuesday and then fly into Costa Rica on Tuesday afternoon.

That’s three days ahead of the Sept. 6 match and the TIcos’ Estadio Nacional. That early arrival is a departure from how Klinsmann and Co. did things earlier in World Cup qualifying, but it is how they ran the calendar back in June for a trip into Jamaica.

The United States won, 2-1, so clearly no reason to change there. Team officials say the additional time allows for adjustment to any mitigating circumstances – and a CONCACAF match in Central America is a “mitigating circumstance” waiting to happen, whether that’s about climate or field conditions or security concerns or whatever.

It’s also about making a statement, apparently. Klinsmann wants the team focused tightly on winning. Everything. Every time out.

Yes, the United States is in great shape in final round qualifying, all but mathematically booked for next year’s World Cup. The better likelihood may be that Klinsmann and Co. acquire those magical, final points to officially stamp passage four nights later in Columbus against Mexico.

Then again, the United States wins pretty much every time on the field these days; there is a national team record 12-game winning streak afoot. So, who knows?

We may know a little more within 48 hours about who will be around as the United States goes for 13 and, possibly, 14 in a row.

Sanchez, Mkhitaryan transfer still up in the air

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The player-swap/trade/transfer between Arsenal and Manchester United still appears to be heading towards completion, but it was further delayed Friday.

Multiple reports in England state that while Alexis Sanchez seems set to move to Manchester United, Henrik Mkhitaryan has yet to agree to move the other way, as talks between the player’s agent and Arsenal continue. Mkhitaryan was seen training at Manchester United’s practice facility on Friday, and because the latest delay, both players would be unable to debut for their new teams this weekend after missing the Premier League registration deadline.

[MORE: JPW’s Premier League picks]

Arsenal hosts Crystal Palace Manchester United travels to Burnley, both on Saturday at 10 a.m. (Watch Arsenal live on CNBC, Manchester United live on NBCSN, and both live on NBCSports.com)

The London Evening Standard reports that Mkhitaryan would command a $242,000-per-week salary but that as of Friday morning he had yet to undergo a medical for the transfer. Arsenal reportedly still wants a transfer fee included for Sanchez, while Manchester United would prefer to just swap the two players.

It’s also looking as if that won’t be Arsenal’s only business in the transfer market. While it seemed like a far-fetched rumor at first, the links between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Arsenal have only grown stronger in the past few days, and the Gabon international appears to be in the Gunners sights. It appears that Bordeaux’s young striker Malcolm is now off the table.

Vancouver adds versatile Juarez, formerly of Monterrey, Celtic

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Efrain Juarez is bringing his game to Major League Soccer.

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The 39-times capped Mexico veteran has inked a deal with the Vancouver Whitecaps, joining a strengthened unit which came within a point of winning the West last season.

Juarez, 29, was unveiled as a midfielder by the ‘Caps, though he’s primarily played right back in his club career. He’s played at Celtic, Real Zaragoza, Club America, Monterrey, and Pumas.

Last capped by El Tri in 2012, Juarez has played every position except goal, center attacking mid, and center forward in his career (picture a ‘U’ on the pitch).

“I’m so happy and excited for this new stage in my career,” Juarez said. “It’s an opportunity for me to keep growing in a new league and to be a part of an amazing club in Vancouver. From the moment they showed interest me, Carl Robinson and the Whitecaps staff have made me feel very important. I promise to put all my effort into this club and do my best to help us achieve our goals.”

VIDEO: Asensio goal ends Real Madrid’s winless run

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Marco Asensio’s eighth goal of the season and second of this Copa del Rey put an end to an unlikely Real Madrid winless run in a 1-0 victory at Leganes.

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The 21-year-old darted in front of a defender to volley home from in-tight, giving Real Madrid a first leg lead in the tournament quarterfinals.

More importantly, perhaps, it gives struggling Real a boost in morale after draws with Celta Vigo and Numancia, and a loss to Villarreal.

Real is home to Deportivo de la Coruna in La Liga before hosting Leganes in the second leg.

Hopeful Newcastle buyer Staveley: Offer still on the table

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Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is probably happy that his for-sale club is away this weekend, even though his side’s up against Manchester City.

[ MORE: Top PL storylines — Week 24  ]

That’s because hopeful buyer Amanda Staveley has responded to claims that her hopeful takeover of the team won’t be happening any time soon.

Talks had stalled, said Tuesday reports, much to the chagrin of an #AshleyOut brigade that at times can make Arsenal’s #WengerOut brigade look like a yard full of happy puppies.

A “source” had said, “Attempts to reach a deal have proved to be exhaustive, frustrating and a complete waste of time,” but Staveley shot back on Thursday to reignite the fire. From the BBC, taken from The Times:

“Our bid remains on the table. This is an investment, but it has to be a long-term investment. Newcastle would be run as a business, but we want it to be a successful, thriving business that is an absolutely integral part of the city.”

She also said that popular manager Rafa Benitez is integral to her interest in the team, and that fact combined with her insistence that an offer remains on the table will have many Newcastle fans seething with current ownership (and there have been protests for years). It’s Ashley’s move now.