MLS news roundup: Bayern Munich as All-Star opposition, Mike Magee’s Irish roots and more

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According to reports from the Munich Evening News and first relayed on our shores at Soccer By Ives, Bayern Munich may be Major League Soccer’s primary target for All-Star opposition in 2014. The game site has already been set: Portland’s Jeld-Wen Field.

(Don’t forget, as we told you a while back, Jeld-Wen might … just mightbe a little larger in the future.)

The league has flirted with the idea of importing Bayern for years, but scheduling has made the Bavarian giant elusive. What better time, though, as Bayern enjoys its time as kings of Europe, now blessed with one of the world’s most respected managers in Pep Guardiola.

Past All-Star opposition has come from Mexico, England (most often), Scotland and Italy – but Germany would be a first.

Young D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid, long a U.S. national team camper, is training in England at West Brom for the time being. National team boss Jurgen Klinsmann encourages these training spells; Hamid is apparently listening.

Big Apple Soccer says that Roy Miller could soon sign an extension to stay around Red Bull Arena a while longer. He’s not exactly a club favorite – but his relative popularity is a bit of a bum rap. And at the right price, he’s a handy figure to have around.

Credit Jeff Bradley from MLSSoccer.com for unearthing this one: MLS Cup 2013 will be the league’s first championship match decided between two managers who once played in the league. Kansas City’s Peter Vermes and Real Salt Lake’s Jason Kreis were once on the playing side. Vermes was with three different clubs, finishing at Kansas City in 2002; Kreis spent most of his  year’s (and became the first MLS man to amass 100 goals while …) at Dallas, then finished his striker days at RSL.

Finally, this: Mike Magee has not been able to elbow his way into the national team scene under Jurgen Klinsmann, never mind his breakout, 21-goal season. But might he soon become “Irish international Mike Magee?” It could happen.

There’s a lot that needs to happen here, but LA Galaxy blogger Adam Serrano says StubHub Center teammate Robbie Keane is advocating the bit. Magee has Irish ancestry.

The story originally came out of an Irish publication, where Keane (pictured above) delivered some other hot soccer opinions. Like this one on artificial turf: “They hate me over there [in the United States] for talking about them, because I can’t stand them to be honest with you. They’re not good for you in the long run.”

No, Robbie! Seriously, who hates you for saying that? Not the fans, that’s for sure.

Independiente and Flamengo meet for South American trophy

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SAO PAULO (AP) Independiente, relegated for the first time in its history in 2013, can complete a remarkable turnaround by winning the Copa Sudamericana at the Maracana Stadium on Wednesday.

[ MORE: LA FC selects Urena, four others in MLS Expansion Draft ]

The Argentine team will go into the second leg of the final holding a 2-1 lead over Brazilian club Flamengo from the first leg.

Independiente, which has won multiple titles in South American tournaments, will be counting on 18-year-old midfielder Ezequiel Barco, one of the best players in this year’s competition.

Flamengo is also seeking to restore some pride in Rio de Janeiro. The big-spending Brazilian club, playing in its first Copa Sudamericana final, finished its domestic championship in a disappointing sixth place.

The Rio team will be without Peru striker Paolo Guerrero, who is serving a one-year doping ban.

Instead, veteran midfielder Diego will be the key player as Flamengo looks to claim its first regional title since winning the now-defunct Copa Mercosur in 1999.

After Independiente won the first leg, the club posted on its social media channels a picture of its players celebrating at the Maracana in 1995 when the two teams played for the Supercopa.

If the Argentines lose 1-0 on Wednesday, there will be a penalty shootout to decide the winner.

Last year, Brazilian club Chapecoense was awarded the title before the final after 19 players, plus club directors and several members of staff, died in an air crash.

The Copa Sudamericana is the continent’s second most prestigious tournament after the Copa Libertadores.

Bundesliga wrap: Dortmund wins in Stoger’s managerial debut

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For the first time since late September, Borussia Dortmund has won a league match, while Leipzig’s slip up opens the door for Bayern Munich to extend its lead in Germany’s top flight.

[ MORE: Chelsea tops Huddersfield, level on points with Man United ]

Here’s a brief look at all of Tuesday’s Bundesliga action.

Mainz 0-2 Borussia Dortmund

10 points separates Dortmund from league leaders Bayern Munich, who also have a match in hand, but for the moment, the bleeding his stopped. BVB picked up a crucial win on Tuesday to end its domestic woes upon manager Peter Stoger’s debut. The side’s drought stretched over an eight-match winless period. Second-half goals from Sokratis and Shinji Kagawa moved Dortmund into the top four, while Mainz remains 15th in the league table.

 

Wolfsburg 1-1 Red Bull Leipzig

Meanwhile, RB Leipzig’s form continues to slide downward after the second-place side dropped points in its fourth straight match across all competitions. The road side’s fortunes were dampened early on when Paul Verhaegh converted from the penalty spot, however, Marcel Halstenberg did manage to pull a goal back for Leipzig in the 52nd minute. Leipzig’s misfortunes carried on in stoppage time though when Dayot Upamecano was sent off after picking up his second yellow card of the day.


The rest of Tuesday’s scores

Hamburg 1-2 Frankfurt
Freiburg 1-0 Borussia Monchengladbach

Inter beats 3rd-division Pordenone 5-4 on penalties in Cup

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MILAN (AP) Inter Milan scraped into the Italian Cup quarterfinals after the Serie A leader was taken to penalties by third-division Pordenone on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Chelsea tops Huddersfield, moves level on points with Man United ]

Pordenone goalkeeper Simone Perilli pulled off several saves in regulation time to keep the game scoreless, and he almost proved to be the hero during the shootout, stopping two penalties.

But Inter prevailed 5-4, with Yuto Nagatomo tucking away the final spot kick.

Both sides hit the woodwork during the 120 minutes.

Inter coach Luciano Spalletti rang the changes, and only Milan Skriniar and Matias Vecino remained in the starting 11 from Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Juventus.

[ MORE: Burnley moves into top four after win over Stoke ]

However, he was forced by desperation to bring on Marcelo Brozovic at halftime as well as star forwards Ivan Perisic and Mauro Icardi.

Report: Cosmos coach Savarese to be named new Timbers manager

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In a time where NASL’s status moving forward is hanging in the balance, one of the league’s top managers is set to make the jump to Major League Soccer.

[ MORE: LA FC close to acquiring Red Bulls captain Sacha Kljestan ]

According to ESPN soccer analyst Taylor Twellman, New York Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese is set to be named the next Portland Timbers manager.

Savarese will take over for the recently departed Caleb Porter, who stepped down from his head coaching role with the Timbers in November.

The former professional player spent five seasons in MLS during his career, including stints with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars (now the Red Bulls), as well as the New England Revolution and the San Jose Earthquakes.

The 46-year-old has managed the Cosmos from 2013 to present, and guided the NASL side to three Soccer Bowl titles in that span.