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.”

Soccer world reacts to the Manchester attacks

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NBC News is reporting that at least 19 people have been killed and another 50 are injured following a possible suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

Multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials who are monitoring British authorities told NBC News that preliminary reports indicate that a single explosion took place outside the arena on the southwest side opposite the train station. The explosion occurred as the concert ended, catching people as they exited.

Soccer clubs, players and personalities around the world are reacting to the horrible event.

Juventus purchases Cuadrado from Chelsea

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If you didn’t realize Juan Cuadrado still belonged to Chelsea, you’re forgiven.

The Colombian attacker will complete his second season at Juventus after the UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid, and won’t be headed back to Chelsea afterwards.

Juve has purchased Cuadrado, and the fee is $22 million, and Juve will pay it over three seasons. Cuadrado, 28, is now signed through 2020 with The Old Lady.

Cuadrado first went on loan to Juve in Aug. 2015, and has eight goals and 18 assists in 83 career appearances with the club.

Chelsea bought Cuadrado from Fiorentina for around $32 million in the January 2015 transfer window, but made just 14 appearances with the club.

Report: Jermain Defoe meeting with Bournemouth

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Sky Sports is reporting that Jermain Defoe may head back to the south of England following Sunderland’s relegation.

Defoe, 34, spent two seasons with Portsmouth between 2008-09, scoring 15 goals in 31 appearances.

[ MORE: ‘The Moment’ of each PL club’s season ]

The 56-times capped England striker had a clause in his Sunderland contract allowing him to leave the Stadium of Light were the Black Cats to be relegated, as they were this season. He’d have little interest in dropping into the Championship given his desire to stay a part of the England squad ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

Bournemouth’s strike corps includes Joshua King, who scored the most goals of any player not on a Top Seven side this season. King’s 16 goals were one more than Defoe’s 15, though the latter scored just one goal following a brace against Crystal Palace on Feb. 4.

Chelsea’s Conte wins pair of top managerial honors

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Antonio Conte took league and national honors from the League Managers Association on Monday night.

The Chelsea boss was named Premier League Manager of the Year and Manager of the Year after leading the Blues to the PL title and an FA Cup Final in his first year on the job.

Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton nabbed another Championship boss of the year award after leading the Gulls to the Premier League. He also won the honor with Newcastle United in 2010.

The League One winner is Chris Wilder of Sheffield United. Wilder won the honor with Northampton Town last season.

In League Two, Paul Cook of Portsmouth was named the winner.