Domestic soccer treble? Odds say “unlikely,” but Real Salt Lake has the chance at something very special

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I have known some members of Real Salt Lake’s management for years, going back to their earliest playing days – and they will absolutely hate me for what I am about to do. Then again, this is what journalists and content providers do … stir the pot, whether it needs a stirring or not. So here goes:

Real Salt Lake has a chance – not a great one, but not a terrible one, either – to pull off something unprecedented in domestic soccer. And something quite special.

With Saturday’s improbable victory in Vancouver, where a squad 100 percent stocked with reservists went into BC Place and left with all three points, Real Salt Lake remains in contention for Supporters Shield. Seattle has games in hand, but the Sounders’ schedule ahead is far tougher than RSL’s remaining schedule. (Of course, teams in the East have something to say about this, too.)

Real Salt Lake has done enough to be considered an MLS Cup threat. And the men of Rio Tinto Stadium (pictured) will be heavily favored for Tuesday’s final in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup competition.

So … a U.S. Soccer professional soccer Treble? That is, U.S. Open Cup winner, Supporters Shield winner and MLS Cup winner from the same address in the same season?

Again, all kinds of things can go wrong here; history speaks to the difficulty of accomplishing such a thing. That is to say, it’s never been done.

Some quality clubs have checked off two of the three over the years. Six teams, in fact, have captured Supporters Shield and MLS Cup in the same season, the 2011 LA Galaxy being the most recent “Double” winners. (The list of Supporters Shield winners is here.)

Three teams have claimed MLS Cup and the U.S. Open Cup in the same year. But none have gone the full distance, so to speak, also capturing Supporters Shield in that same season. (The list of U.S. Open Cup  winners is here; the list of MLS Cup winners is here.)

So this is just a heads-up: Odds say RSL walking with all this is highly unlikely, especially considering how many young hands remain on deck for Kreis’ team. Still, it’s worth noting that such a chance even exists.

The first check on the box has to come tomorrow from Rio Tinto.

Mexico star Marquez back at Atlas after US drug sanctions

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MEXICO CITY (AP) Mexican soccer star Rafael Marquez is back with his club more than a month after the U.S. Treasury Department named him on a sanctions list for alleged drug trafficking ties.

Atlas said Monday that the 38-year-old defender is practicing with the team again.

In August, Marquez was among 22 people sanctioned by the department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. He was accused of acting as a frontman for the Raul Flores Hernandez drug trafficking organization.

Marquez has denied any wrongdoing and said he will work to clear his name. He is not known to face any criminal charges in the United States or Mexico.

Atlas says Marquez will continue his legal fight while at the team.

Marquez has played internationally with AS Monaco, Barcelona and the New York Red Bulls.

Wolfsburg hires Martin Schmidt after firing Andries Jonker

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WOLFSBURG, Germany (AP) Wolfsburg has hired Martin Schmidt to coach the Bundesliga side as a swift replacement for Andries Jonker.

[ MORE: PL Playback — Koeman, Everton facing significant pressure ]

Jonker was fired on Monday after less than seven months in charge, with Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Stuttgart leaving Wolfsburg with four points from its opening four league games of the new campaign.

The 50-year-old Schmidt has signed a contract through 2019 and he will take charge of Tuesday’s game against Werder Bremen.

The Swiss coach left Mainz by mutual consent in May after almost three years in charge. Mainz finished last season in 15th place in the Bundesliga, above Wolfsburg on goal difference. Wolfsburg only survived in the Bundesliga last season by a winning a playoff.

More AP German soccer coverage: http://www.apnews.com/tag/Bundesliga

Swapping cleats for gloves: Rio Ferdinand to become a boxer

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It wouldn’t be the first time a professional athlete has tried his hand at another sport, but this one is a bit surprising.

[ MORE: Leicester-Liverpool highlights Tuesday’s Carabao Cup action ]

The Telegraph is reporting that ex-Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is poised to become a professional boxer and is expected to announce his decision on Tuesday.

The 38-year-old has been a pundit for BBC and BT Sport since retiring from soccer 2015, but the six-time Premier League winner appears ready to tackle a new venture.

Ferdinand will attempt to follow in the footsteps of former Sheffield United striker Curtis Woodhouse — who went on to become British light-welterweight champion.

Below is a video Ferdinand posted to his Instagram account on Monday which appears to show him practice dodging with a personal trainer.

Dodging Rain Drops…. Reaction Drill… Keep Moving!! 💧🎾 @chrisvarnavas

A post shared by Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) on

Cavani, Neymar feud presents questions about PSG chemistry

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Paris Saint-Germain picked up its sixth consecutive win to start the Ligue 1 season on Sunday, but something else happened during the team’s 2-0 victory over Lyon that should be a show for concern.

[ MORE: Bayern keeper Neuer injuries foot, could miss months ]

In fact, two notable sequences occurred during the match that proved money cannot buy chemistry — or how the saying goes.

The issues on both occasions were between summer signing Neymar and Edinson Cavani — who has been with PSG since 2013.

First, a free kick situation arose where Cavani had appeared that he was going to take the set piece, until Brazilian defender Dani Alves stepped in and took the ball and proceeded to give it to his national and club teammate, Neymar.

The second occurence was even more embarrassing though, as Neymar and Cavani argued over who would take a penalty kick, which Cavani ultimately got his way before having his shot saved by goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.

Below is a video containing a piece of both instances.