Porter: Diego Valeri could see time in Sunday’s preseason game

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The Portland Timbers could get a major boost with the season starting in just over two weeks.

2013 leading scorer Diego Valeri, whose recovery from a sports hernia is taking longer than expected, could return to game action this Sunday, and could possibly be ready for opening day.

With a friendly against San Jose on the horizon this weekend, Valeri has returned to training and according to head coach Caleb Porter, it’s possible he gets back on the field sooner or later.

“Valeri was back in training today full out for the first time, and he looked good and felt good.”

The news is great for Timbers fans, who saw their 27-year-old talisman struggle with fitness during last year’s stretch run. In Portland’s nine regular season games after his injury against Real Salt Lake, Valeri averaged just 38 minutes per match.

Oddly enough, he scored five of his season’s 10 goals in that span, but come playoff time he was in and out of matches.

Originally listed as an adductor injury, it took six weeks for reports to emerge that he in fact was carrying a hernia.

A month and a half after his injury was sustained, it was obvious he was struggling. Porter said at the time, “You saw it in Vancouver – he was sore. He went in the game, he’s sore. He couldn’t run. He could barely give us what we needed and then in training he was sore.”

The Argentinian, whom Porter in the past called “one of our best players,” could be ready for opening day if all goes well, a prospect that was thrown into doubt the longer it took him to get back to training.

“If things go as planned, it might be tough to keep him out of the lineup on March 8,” Porter admitted. It’s hard to imagine Timbers fans complaining about that possibility.

WATCH: Rashford sends arrow home to put Man Utd up two

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Seemingly everything he touches turns to gold goals.

Marcus Rashford scored twice in the first 17 minutes of Wednesday’s League Cup third round match versus Burton Albion at Old Trafford, and the second was a beaut.

[ MORE: Everton fines Rooney ]

It was a classy little chipped finish that made it 1-0, but Rashford unleashed from outside the 18 to beat a flying goalkeeper and put a jewel on the scoreboard.

Well, not really a jewel, but picture that “2” as real shiny.

Rashford now has five goals in eight matches for Manchester United this season, and 22 in 78 for his career. He turns 20 next month, which is nice.

Everton fines Rooney two weeks’ wages

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Wayne Rooney‘s move back to Everton was always going to benefit the Merseyside community, though it wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Everton has fined Rooney two weeks’ wages following his admission earlier this week to a drunk driving charge.

[ MORE: PL Player Power Rankings ]

According to the BBC, “Everton intend to give the entire sum – thought to be about £300,000 – to local projects through their Everton in the Community scheme.”

At a Monday court date, Rooney learned that he would not be allowed to drive for two years. He was also fined and assigned 100 hours of community service.

Rooney has two goals and an assist in nine appearances, all starts, for the struggling Toffees. He is not in the 18 for Everton’s third round League Cup tie versus Sunderland on Wednesday.

LIVE: Man United, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal enter League Cup

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Five more League Cup third round games take place on Wednesday with Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Everton all hosting lower-league opponents.

[ LIVE: Latest League Cup scores ] 

Holders Man United welcome Burton Albion to Old Trafford, while Arsenal host Doncaster Rovers, Chelsea welcome Nottingham Forest to Stamford Bridge, Everton clash with recently relegated Sunderland and Manchester City head to West Brom.

On Tuesday five Premier League teams were knocked out of the competition as Liverpool lost at Leicester City, Stoke were upset at Bristol City, Burnley lost to Leeds United on penalty kicks, Brighton lost at Bournemouth and Huddersfield were knocked out by Crystal Palace.

[ MORE: Tuesday’s League Cup roundup ]

Below is the full schedule for Wednesday’s League Cup games with all games kicking off at 2:45 p.m. ET unless otherwise stated.

Click on the link above for live updates on all five games, while the fourth-round draw takes place after the games have finished.


Wednesday’s League Cup schedule

Arsenal vs. Doncaster Rovers
Chelsea vs. Nottingham Forest
Everton vs. Sunderland
Manchester United vs. Burton Albion – 3 p.m. ET
West Bromwich Albion vs. Manchester City – 3 p.m. ET

Men In Blazers podcast: Chelsea-Arsenal, Rooney, Pep

Men In Blazers
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Rog and Davo break down Arsenal’s draw at Chelsea, Wazza’s return to Old Trafford, and a robotic performance from Pep’s City side. Plus, a musical number at the end.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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