Seattle’s Brad Evans talks about Sounders struggles

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FRISCO, Texas – Results later this evening will help show how much trouble Seattle is in as the Sounders work desperately to arrest this late-season spiral … one that is threatening to erase the team’s chances of even appearing in the post-season.

Here’s the thing with Evans … he’s one of the real smart guys of MLS, terrific at assessing this and that, what’s right and wrong.

And he says he can’t figure this thing out.

He knows the Sounders personnel losses are hurting. Some of that is down to injury, some down to worse, like Osvaldo Alonso, who was suspended for Saturday’s loss in Dallas after elbowing Portland’s Will Johnson off the ball last week. And considering the team’s struggles in possession and putting together enough offensive push at Toyota Stadium on Saturday, the team badly missed its top midfielder.

Here’s what Evans had to say as he struggled to deal with it all:

“Next week is the championship game for us. Next week is MLS Cup for us.”

I asked Evans if the locker room is ready for a contest like that, considering a level of confidence that must be at low ebb.

“I don’t know,” he said. “That’s a good question.  The fight and the desire is there. It’s just execution, front to back. Like me, I had two good chances … and if I can slip those in … It’s just little things like that. It’s inches and inches.”

I also asked about Clint Dempsey, who is surely desperate to demonstrate his value (and what a handsome value that is) to his new club and to the rest of Major League Soccer. The U.S. international is still looking for his first Sounders goal or assist.

On the one hand, Dempsey would love to be the guy to rally everyone, to stand up and shake up the locker room with words and then do it on the field with performance. On the other hand, it’s hard when you’re hurt, as he’s been. And it’s even harder when you’re new, perhaps not feeling empowered – not just because you’re new, but because you’ve also been hurt.

“He wants that role,” Evans said. “But it is difficult to come in and be a contributor right away, no matter who you are.”

Evans also had this to say:

“If we have everybody healthy and on the field, I think we’re unstoppable. But it’s about getting everyone on the field at the same time. And maybe next week [against Los Angeles in Seattle] is the perfect storm next week maybe it happens next Sunday, we get everyone healthy and we get the results we need and get into the playoffs, and then we take off.”

U.S. Open Cup roundup: Poku lifts Miami; Red Bulls, Cincy win on PKs

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While MLS represents the majority of the remaining clubs in this year’s U.S. Open Cup, one side continues to defy the odds.

[ MORE: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson ]

Miami FC reached their first quarterfinal in club history after knocking off Atlanta United late on Wednesday, behind a goal and an assist from Kwadwo Poku. The victory for Miami sets up a date with FC Cincinnati — who pulled off an unbelievable shootout win against the Chicago Fire.

Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution both advanced on the night with wins over the Philadelphia Union and D.C. United, respectively. The Red Bulls and Revs will meet in the final eight as well.

Sporting KC kept its hope of hoisting a fourth U.S. Open Cup title alive on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. The 2015 winners will take on FC Dallas — who defeated the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday night.

Here are all the results from tonight’s Open Cup action.

Houston Dynamo 0-2 Sporting KC
New England Revolution 2-1 D.C. United
Miami FC 3-2 Atlanta United
New York Red Bulls 1-1 (5-3 on PKs) Philadelphia Union
FC Cincinnati 0-0 (3-1 on PKs) Chicago Fire
San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 Seattle Sounders
LA Galaxy 2-0 Sacramento Republic

Report: City Football Group set to expand outreach with Girona deal

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City Football Group appears on the verge of adding to its global outreach, and it’s next destination looks to be in Spain.

[ MORE: Are Southampton’s days of selling behind the club? ]

The group of investors, which are known for controlling Premier League side Manchester City, are reportedly nearing a deal to purchase a partial stake in Spanish club Girona — which is set to make its La Liga debut in 2017/18.

CFG is said to be gaining a near “50 percent” stake in the club, with the rest of the club owned by Media Base, a company owned by Pep Guardiola‘s brother, Pere.

Over recent years, CFG has vastly expanded its ownership outreach and currently has a stake in five clubs around the world, with Girona set to be the sixth.

MLS side New York City FC, Australian A-League side Melbourne City FC, Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos and Club Atletico Torque in Uruguay are all part of the CFG enterprise, alongside Man City.

New York Red Bulls ink goalkeeper Luis Robles to new deal

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The “Iron Man” will keep up his amazing journey with the New York Red Bulls, after signing a new deal with the club on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder on verge of joining Los Angeles FC ]

Goalkeeper Luis Robles has extended his contract with the reigning Eastern Conference champions, as the American continues to raise his consecutive starts streak, which stands at 157.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed in the club’s release.

Robles joined the Red Bulls back in 2012 after playing in Germany, and the shot-stopper hasn’t missed a start ever since.

Report: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson

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Minnesota United has had its shares of ups and down in its debut MLS season, but the Loons are on the verge making an exciting young signing.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder closing in on Los Angeles FC move ]

ESPN FC is reporting that Minnesota will sign Hearts winger Sam Nicholson from the Scottish Premier League on a deal that makes him a Loon until 2019.

The young attacker is expected to join the MLS side when the summer transfer window opens on July 10.

Nicholson, 22, has played with the Edinburgh side since his youth days, and made his senior debut with the club in 2013. During his time at Hearts, Nicholson scored 16 goals in all competitions for the team.

Last season, Nicholson missed 16 matches due to a significant knee injury.

According to the report, Scottish sides Rangers and Aberdeen were also among those interested in acquiring Nicholson, while English Championship clubs Bristol City and Barnsley also reached out about the attacker.