Dutch Eredivisie - Roda JC Kerkrade v FC Utrecht

Americans Abroad Review: Agudelo debuts, Onyewu scores, Shea loan extended, Yank on trial with Bob Bradley

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The Premier League was off, but the FA Cup was on and Germany returned to action as the number of Americans in action overseas was high and mighty.

Juan Agudelo made his FC Utrecht bow as a 58th minute substitution but was not able to help his new club avoid a shock defeat to No. 15 in the table Roda JC Kerkrade. He was the only sub made by his side in the match, and registered one shot over his 32-plus minutes. And as the on-loan from Stoke kid made his European debut, another Potter was introduced by the Philadelphia Union in Maurice Edu.

PSV Eindhoven was able to do what plenty of Eredivisie sides have not: stop Aron Johannsson. He was held scoreless for the first time in a few matches as PSV jumped to No. 6 in the table and banished Johannsson’s AZ Alkmaar side to No. 8 with a 1-0 decision.

In FA Cup fourth round action:

– Everton gave Tim Howard a rare day-off as the Toffees squeezed Stevenage for an easy 4-0 win. Everton hosts Swansea in the next round.

– Jozy Altidore played all 90 minutes as Sunderland needed everything it had to hold off lower league side Kidderminster in a 1-0 decision. Manager Gus Poyet said, “It was not a classic” and that “it became boring and difficult to watch.” The Black Cats will host Southampton in the next round.

– Clint Dempsey wasn’t in the Match Day 18 for Fulham’s 1-1 draw with Sheffield United, as he was saved for the midweek PL relegation scrap at Swansea. The two sides with dance again on Feb. 4, with the winners getting the victor of a Nottingham Forest/Preston North End replay.

– Gooch with the goal! Oguchi Onyewu netted the game-winner as Sheffield Wednesday toppled Rochdale 2-0 to earn a fortunate fifth round date with Charlton Athletic.

– Duane Holmes (Huddersfield Town), Tim Ream (Bolton) and Will Packwood (Birmingham City) all saw their sides crash out to stiff, higher competition.

In France, Ale Bedoya and Nantes rebounded from their 5-0 squashing at the hands of PSG two weeks ago to draw Stade Reims. The home stalemate kept the Canaries ahead of their opponents, and Bedoya played 76 minutes, credited with one of his side’s best chances when he was denied in the 66th minute.

Timothy Chandler fired home as FC Nurnberg toasted Fabian Johnson’s Hoffenheim squad by a 4-0 score. MLSSoccer.com described the goal:

Midway through the opening frame, the FCN right back picked the top corner from about 24 yards for his first tally since September of 2012. Soon after, Chandler went close with a lefty try from distance. Johnson, just back from injury, was replaced as Hoffenheim left back at halftime.

The injury to Johnson is not a kind one: his broken hand could cause him problems for both club and country.

There was no Jermaine Jones for Schalke again in their 3-0 win over Hamburger SV.

In Mexico, Puebla blew a 2-0 lead and fell 3-2, with 90 minutes each for DaMarcus Beasley and Jonathan Orozco. Edgar Castillo played the full match as Club Tijuana won yet again at home, 1-0 over Morelia.

Sacha Kljestan did not play as Anderlecht won a huge Belgian battle against Club Brugge, 2-0.

An effective Brek Shea has extended his loan deal with Barnsley through April.

Former LA Galaxy midfielder Michael Stephens is on trial for Bob Bradley at Stabaek in Norway.

Andy King: If Leicester can win PL, Wales can win EURO 2016

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 07:  Andy King of Leicester City celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and Everton at The King Power Stadium on May 7, 2016 in Leicester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
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Andy King is still riding high from Leicester City’s Premier League title, and that confidence is carrying over into EURO 2016.

The Foxes midfielder and Welsh international sees no reason why Wales can’t win the tournament, despite having 80-1 odds to do so.

[ MORE: England’s EURO squad ]

Of course, Leicester began the Premier League season as 5,000-1 underdogs to lift the trophy.

We’ve got to win six or seven games compared to 38.

80-1 against 5000-1. You know which one you would rather back. We are a talented group and I believe we have the best player in the tournament.

Gareth [Bale] is probably the best player in the tournament in many people’s opinion, so why can’t we go there and do something? We are confident we can do that.

If Wales were to win the EURO this summer, the story truly would rival that of Leicester. The Dragons have never played in a European Championship before, and the nation’s only other appearance at a major tournament came back at the 1958 World Cup.

[ MORE: Payet, Milner make top-five of UEFA’s “player barometer” ]

You may not agree that Gareth Bale is the best player in the tournament, but he is surely near the top of the list. Bale’s play will likely determine how far Wales can go, drawn into Group B alongside England, Slovakia, and Russia.

Report: West Ham offer $22 million for AC Milan striker Carlos Bacca

MILAN, ITALY - MARCH 20:  Carlos Bacca of AC Milan celebrates his goal during the Serie A match between AC Milan and SS Lazio at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on March 20, 2016 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
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West Ham’s search for an elite striker continues, with their newest target AC Milan’s Carlos Bacca.

According to Sky Sports, the Hammers have bid $22 million for the striker, who led Milan with 18 goals in Serie A play last season.

However, after paying $34 million to sign the striker last summer, it is believed Milan would be unwilling to sell their top scorer for less than $30 million.

MORE: All 2015-16 PL season reviews ]

At 29-years-old, Bacca has been one of Europe’s most consistent forwards over the past few seasons. After bagging 49 goals in 108 appearances for Sevilla, he earned a move to Milan last July, finishing third in Serie A scoring in his first year with the club.

West Ham’s chairman David Gold has been open about his desire to sign a world-class striker, with Lyon confirming that they rejected a $45 million bid from the Hammers for Alexandre Lacazette.

VIDEO: Neymar takes batting practice before New York Mets game

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 31:  Brazilian soccer player  Neymar Jr stands in the New York Mets dugout before the game against the Chicago White Sox at Citi Field on May 31, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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We all know Neymar’s skills with a soccer ball, but what about with a baseball bat?

Spoiler alert: He’s better with his feet.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Copa coverage ]

The Barcelona and Brazil superstar was in New York on Tuesday night and hit up the batting cages at Citi Field before the Mets game against the Chicago White Sox.

Taking swings lefty, Neymar made some contact but didn’t necessarily have the smoothest stroke…

He then hit the field and got back to his roots, showing off some footskills while juggling a baseball.

I’m not too sure if Neymar is a baseball fan, but this may make him the Mets’ newest, most famous supporter (sorry Jerry Seinfeld).

Neymar is in the United States as he has some time off after the long Barcelona season. He is not playing in the Copa America with Brazil, but will instead play in the Olympics in August.

Messi’s tax fraud case begins with player avoiding court

BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 17:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona looks on  during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Valencia CF at Camp Nou on April 17, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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MADRID (AP) Lionel Messi’s tax trial began Tuesday with the player deciding not to appear in court for early proceedings.

Messi is facing a prison sentence of nearly two years on charges he failed to properly pay taxes for part of his earnings from Barcelona from 2007-09.

[ FOLLOW: All of PSTS’s Copa coverage ]

The Argentina playmaker is not obligated to appear in the Barcelona court until Thursday, when he is scheduled to testify before a judge. Sentencing is not expected until next week.

Messi and his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, have been charged with three counts of tax fraud for allegedly defrauding Spain’s tax office of 4.1 million euros ($4.5 million).

Because of the trial, Messi is missing Argentina’s preparation for the Copa America Centenario, which begins Saturday in the United States. He is expected to fly straight to the U.S. to join his teammates after the trial ends. Argentina debuts in the tournament on Monday against defending champion Chile.

Even if found guilty, it is highly unlikely that Messi or his father will face any jail time. They have denied wrongdoing.

[ COPA AMERICA PREVIEWS: Group A | BC | D ]

“Everything is good. Everybody is calm,” said Messi’s lawyer, Enrique Bacigalupo, as he arrived at the Barcelona court on Tuesday.

The trial is centered on alleged unlawful activities of Messi’s father, but authorities said the player knew enough to also be named in the case. Officials said that although Messi was mostly unfamiliar with tax issues, there was sufficient evidence to believe he could have known and consented to the creation of a fictitious corporate structure to avoid paying taxes on income from his image rights.

In addition to each facing a prison sentence of 22 months and 15 days, Messi and his father could also be fined in the amount defrauded and ordered to pay all legal proceedings and the loss of any possible tax benefits for a year and a half.

Messi is just the latest high-profile player to have to deal with Spain’s tough tax system. Neymar, Javier Mascherano, Adriano and Xabi Alonso also were targeted by authorities recently.

[ MORE: Marcelo giving away UCL winners’ medal…on Facebook ]

Mascherano, Messi’s teammate with Argentina and Barcelona, earlier this year was handed a suspended one-year prison sentence for not paying nearly 1.5 million euros ($1.6 million) in taxes for 2011 and 2012. Brazil striker Neymar recently had to testify before a judge because of alleged irregularities involving his transfer to Barcelona. He and the club were accused of withholding the real amount of the transfer fee, in part to avoid paying the full amount of taxes.

Messi was also being investigated by Spanish tax authorities after his name was among those released in the probe of international offshore accounts, known as the Panama Papers, although he was not charged for those allegations.