2012 MLS Cup - Los Angeles Galaxy Training Session

Notable happenings from Saturday’s MLS preseason matches

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Several U.S. internationals, having recently returned to their teams following a few days off after U.S. national team camp, got onto the field.

For instance, Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez (pictured) were back into the Galaxy’s starting 11 as Bruce Arena (presumably walking around with a copy of that new contact folded up into his jacket pocket) and his team met Armenian club FC Shirak.

A couple of prominent names, however, still weren’t on the field. Robbie Rogers sat out with an ankle strain picked up in training, and that’s what Rogers needs as he seeks to put things right after last season’s disappointing re-entry into MLS.

Nor was Robbie Keane around, although Arena sold the LA Galaxy blog that the Irish international, who has been limited to jogging, may be back in training next week.

Brad Evans and DeAndre Yedlin were back in Seattle’s lineup in a 0-0 draw against Portland. In fact, Evans had the captain’s armband as the teams met down in Tucson. And things got a little testy, apparently.

I mean, who could have seen that coming?

Mike Magee wasn’t quite ready to get back on the field for his team, but that didn’t stop Chicago from topping D.C. United, 2-0. That’s two in a row for Frank Yallop’s new team following a 1-o win over Toronto in the Fire’s preseason opener earlier this week.

New frontrunners Eddie Johnson and Fabian Espindola saw their first action for D.C. United, but the wise guys at Black and Red United said the ongoing lack of chances created stuck out. If you’re a D.C. United fan, “lack of chances” is the last thing you want to hear after a 2013 season that resembled the first 21 minutes of Saving Private Ryan. That is to say, it was pretty hard to watch.

Brad Davis, another U.S. World Cup hopeful, was back on the field for Houston, helping to set up one goal as his team got past San Jose, 3-1. Omar Cummings, who never quite got going for Dominic Kinnear’s team last year, had two goals.

West Ham extend Payet’s contract in “enormous show of faith”

West Ham’s Dimitri Payet celebrates after scoring while soap bubbles are blown during the English Premier League soccer match between West Ham and Newcastle at Boleyn Ground in London, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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West Ham United hope Dimitri Payet is going absolutely nowhere after the club announced on Thursday the 28-year-old Frenchman has signed a contract extension through the summer of 2021.

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Payet’s current contract was scheduled to keep him at the Premier League club through the summer of 2020, but a series of standout performances (6 goals, 4 assists so far this season, mostly during the season’s opening three months) and rumors of interest from “bigger” clubs meant tacking on another year — and plenty more cash — was the best way to keep Payet in east London for the foreseeable future. The club confirmed earlier this week that negotiations over an extension were underway.

“He’s the best player I’ve signed in 25 years,” said West Ham co-owner David Sullivan. “He’s a [$43 million] player. He’s a supreme footballer. He makes every player in our side play better. On his day, he’s world class, he’s unstoppable.”

Payet, who’s been at West Ham just eight months after signing last summer, could still depart in the summer should he finish the current season strong and/or show up and show out at the European Championship, which kicks off in June. In that event, West Ham would now bag a much heftier transfer fee than they would have done prior to the extension.

VIDEO: Dele Alli’s magnificent juggling goal recreated in hand-drawn crayon

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Remember that Dele Alli goal? No, not that one… that one. Of course you remember it. How could you not?

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How often does a player receive the ball out of the air, flick it over his head, spin 180 degrees and hit an inch-perfect volley from 20 yards out to secure all three points for his team? The answer is, of course, not very often.

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Thus, a goal such as Alli’s stunning winner against Crystal Palace last month has been, and will continue to be, immortalized through numerous recreations in this Digital Age. Above is Alli’s goal recreated in hand-drawn crayon.

Watch Live: Guatemala vs. T&T; Canada vs. Guyana in Olympic qualifying

Canadian players wave to fans after a 2-1 loss to England in a quarterfinal of the Women's World Cup soccer tournament, Saturday, June 27, 2015, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP
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Group B is set to kick off Thursday night at the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, as Canada, third-place finishers at the 2012 Olympics, begin their quest to qualify for this summer’s games in Rio de Janeiro.

Guyana versus Trinidad and Tobago is up first (6 p.m. ET) from BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Tex, followed by the Canadians, who will take on Guyana (8:30 p.m. ET) in the nightcap.

[ WATCH LIVE: Guatemala vs. T&T live online on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

[ WATCH LIVE: Canada vs. Guyana live on line on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

The U.S. women’s national began its Olympic qualifying campaign in impressive fashion on Wednesday with a 5-0 victory over Costa Rica, while Mexico jumped to the top of Group A with a 6-0 victory over Puerto Rico.

Sunderland terminate Adam Johnson’s contract after guilty pleas in sex case

Sunderland winger Adam Johnson arrives at Bradford Crown Court, England, Wednesday Feb. 10, 2016. Johnson has pleaded guilty in court to one count of sexual activity with a child and another of grooming. The 28-year-old Johnson, who has made 12 appearances for England, denies two charges of sexual activity with a girl under the age of 16. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE
Peter Byrne/PA via AP
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SUNDERLAND, England (AP) Sunderland has fired winger Adam Johnson after he pleaded guilty to grooming and sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl at the start of his trial.

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Johnson, who has played 12 times for England, continues to deny two further counts of sexual activity with a child.

Sunderland dismissed Johnson ahead of his trial resuming on Friday at Bradford Crown Court.

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In a statement, Sunderland announced Thursday that “in light of Adam Johnson’s guilty pleas, the club has today terminated his contract with immediate effect.”

The former Manchester City player joined Sunderland in 2012 for 10 million pounds (now about $14.5 million).