Saturday’s U.S.-South Korea friendly is sold out

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Saturday’s national team friendly outside Los Angeles is officially sold out, according to U.S. Soccer. That means a crowd of 27,000 will see Jurgen Klinsmann’s team open its huge 2014 calendar year; the United States meets fellow World Cup qualifier South Korea.

The sellout likely reflects a little amped up interest in a World Cup year, because these early friendlies aren’t always big sellers. The last time the United States closed the January camp with a game at the StubHub Center (then the Home Depot Center, of course) a crowd of 18,580 showed up to see the U.S. meet Chile.

A year before that, there were 18,626 in the house as the United States met Honduras.

Then again, there are just a few more men in camp this time who are probably bound for the World Cup, so maybe that’s part of the brisk sales. Landon Donovan (pictured) and Clint Dempsey, neither of whom were around during the previous January camp, add significant “marquee value” to this one.

What might we get from the game? If you remember, a few of these same players opened up last year against Canada, and the team was pretty dull around the edges. Perhaps this being a World Cup year and all, a few more players will be inspired to take some chances and carpe the doggone diem and such.

Courtesy of the latest U.S. Soccer generated Q&A, here is what Klinsmann says he wants to see Saturday against Korea (a team that took it to Costa Rica recently, but then fell meekly on Wednesday to Mexico, 4-0, down in San Antonio.)

It’s a game at the end of January camp where you want to see the players implement the things we worked on in these three-and-a-half weeks. You want to see the progress they made throughout the camp to get an idea of where they are individually. It helps to finish [the camp] off with a game or maybe two because it’s something they are looking forward to. Otherwise, they train, train, train but can’t prove it in a game.”

CCL: Lodeiro from 45; Royer’s diving header — SEA, RBNY lead (video)

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After 45 minutes of their respective CONCACAF Champions League knockout-round quests, things are going unnervingly well for the Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: FC Dallas disappoint in CCL; Club America flying ]

If you’ve watched Major League Soccer teams try, try and try again — only to eventually fail in spectacular fashion — in CCL over the years, you might say things are going a little too well.

There’s still another 45 minutes to be played on Thursday — plus the return legs next week — but both the Sounders and Red Bulls hold 1-0 halftime leads, and the vitally important away goals which come with it. Nicolas Lodeiro’s 45-yard, first-time lob of the Santa Tecla (El Salvador) goalkeeper in the 15th minute has already been eternally etched into the memories of Sounders fans.

Just 15 minutes later, Daniel Royer perfectly executed the diving header and got on the end of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ curling ball into the box to Jesse Marsch’s side ahead of Honduran side CD Olimpia.

Villarreal DF Semedo charged with attempted murder

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MADRID (AP) A Spanish judge has charged Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo with attempted murder and ordered him to be temporarily detained without bail.

Court officials in Lliria say on Thursday the Portuguese player is also charged with assault, robbery, illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms.

Semedo testified before a judge on Thursday, and left the court in handcuffs.

The 23-year-old Semedo was detained early Tuesday, accused of tying up, assaulting and threatening another man last week. Authorities say he and two other men allegedly held the victim captive while they robbed his apartment.

Semedo’s agents told Spanish media the player denies any wrongdoing.

Villarreal on Tuesday said it was investigating Semedo and would take appropriate disciplinary action.

Villarreal signed Semedo from Sporting Lisbon last summer for a reported fee of $17 million.

Wenger: Arsenal “complacent, had no ideas” in Ostersunds loss

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Perhaps Sunday’s League Cup final had already reached the forefront of their minds, but Arsene Wenger admonished his players, whom he said were “complacent, not focused” and “had no ideas” for much of Thursday’s Europa League defeat, at home, to Swedish side Ostersunds.

[ MORE: Premier League TV schedule | Man United vs. Chelsea ]

The Gunners advanced to the round of 16 on the back of their 3-0 first-leg victory last week, but Wenger was understandably displeased by the effort he saw and expressed such feelings in no uncertain terms, before quickly easing up and praising the fact they were able to pull back a goal against the current fifth-place team from Sweden — quotes from the BBC:

“We were not at the races in the first half,” said Wenger, who saw his side booed off at half-time and full-time. I think in the second half it was much better and we should have scored a few goals.

“In the first half, we were in trouble and in danger because we were complacent, not focused and were open every time we lost the ball. We had no ideas with the ball and that’s why we were in trouble.

“We responded very well because we did the job to qualify, but that’s what we have to take from the night and that’s all.”

With Arsenal now trailing fourth-place Chelsea by eight points (and seven back of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur), winning the Europa League might just be the Gunners’ last chance at qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Batshuayi racially abused by Atalanta fans

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Borussia Dortmund striker Michy Batshuayi says he was subject to racist chants from Atalanta fans during a Europa League game in Italy.

The Belgium international, on loan from Chelsea, tweeted:

Dortmund advanced to the round of 16 by drawing 1-1 to beat Atalanta 4-3 on aggregate on Thursday.

The game was played at Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia because Atalanta’s home stadium is unsuitable for UEFA games.

There have been several incidents of racism at Serie A matches this season.