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MLS Season Preview: FC Dallas

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The recent fortunes of FC Dallas bear a resemblance to the Columbus team we previewed yesterday; two years of no playoffs meet a brand new, splashy coach. The difference here is that Dallas welcomes back one of its own in a sense, with Oscar Pareja returning from Colorado for pastures where he spent 13 years as a player and assistant.

What’s in the cupboard?

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Players in: Adam Moffat (trade with Seattle), Andres Ramiro Escobar (loan from Dynamo Kiev), Hendry Thomas (trade with Colorado), Ryan Hollingshead (sabbatical), Brian Span (Djurgårdens IF), David Texeira (FC Groningen), Tesho Akindele (SuperDraft/Colorado School of Mines), Nicholas Walker (SuperDraft/Fairleigh Dickinson), Ronny Santos Mendoza (SuperDraft/Manta FC)

Players out: Kenny Cooper (trade with Seattle), Jackson (trade with Toronto), Kyle Zobeck (unattached), Ugo Ihemelu (unattached); Erick (unattached), David Ferreira (Independiente Santa Fe), Ramón Núñez (unattached), Bobby Warshaw (GAIS); Bradlee Baladez (unattached).

Key player: Texeira

Pareja struck late to pick up the 23-year-old Uruguayan forward on loan from FC Groningen in an attempt to bolster an attack that has struggled to score and even find the run of play. He’ll join Blas Perez and new loan signing Escobar to bring danger on the opposition. Escobar is also intriguing with his great pace.

Manager: Pareja

The 45-year-old Colombia worked wonders with the young players of the Rapids, bringing Deshorn Brown and Shane O’Neill into MLS prominence. He’ll bring a respectd and steady hand to a team that was searching for fire and consistency.

Outlook: It’s hard to envision FC Dallas jumping right back into the postseason, with a melange of styles and players to meld together. Still this should be an improved squad record-wise, and they did finish just seven points behind Colorado’s mark. If Dallas benefits from Pareja as much as Colorado falters without him, well, who knows? I wouldn’t bet on this being their year, but they shouldn’t be a boring team to monitor.

Viktoria Plzen set to sign midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz

Obafemi Martins, Oniel Fisher, Andreas Ivanschitz
Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
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PRAGUE (AP) Czech champion Viktoria Plzen is close to signing Austrian midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz.

Plzen says Ivanschitz agreed terms for a contract lasting 1 + seasons and will sign it when the team returns from a training camp in Spain. Ivanschitz has already joined the squad at the Oliva Nova resort, the club says.

Ivanschitz helped the Seattle Sounders win their first MLS Cup in December.

[ NEW HOMES: Fonte | Berahino ]

No financial details were given.

The 33-year-old Ivanschitz also played for Rapid Vienna and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, Mainz in the Bundesliga, Levante in Spain and Panathinaikos in Athens.

Ivanschitz played 69 games for Austria in 2003-14, scoring 12 goals.

FIFA allows Matip to represent Liverpool during AFCON

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Joel Matip of Liverpool heads to score his team's third goal during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Selhurst Park on October 29, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images
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Joel Matip is going to get to play for Liverpool during AFCON after all.

The center back had turned down the chance to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Liverpool was forced to apply to FIFA for a waiver.

[ PL PREVIEW: Swansea vs. Liverpool ]

Matip suffered an ankle injury in December, adding to his desire to stay at Anfield. He declared himself internationally retired and was one of six Cameroon players who refused call-ups for AFCON.

He last played for the Reds on Dec. 11, and can be selected by Jurgen Klopp against Swansea City on Saturday.

Man United captain Rooney raises $1.5m from charity game

FILE - A Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017 file photo of Manchester United's Wayne Rooney leaving the field after the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England. Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says he raised 1.2 million pounds ($1.5 million) for charity from a friendly game against former club Everton last year. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)
AP Photo/Dave Thompson
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MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says he raised 1.2 million pounds ($1.5 million) from a friendly game against former club Everton last year.

That represents the profits, after operational costs, from August’s sellout match at Old Trafford and goes toward the Wayne Rooney Foundation’s target of raising 5 million pounds for children’s charities.

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Rooney said: “I’d like to thank all the fans who came to the testimonial and made it such a special night. They’ve raised a huge amount of money for children who are disadvantaged and it will make a real difference to their lives.”

Rooney is one goal from breaking Manchester United’s scoring record, with the striker currently tied with Bobby Charlton on 249 goals.

Rooney joined United from Everton in 2004.

WATCH: Lewandowski’s juggling stoppage time winner

Bayern's Robert Lewandowski celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the German soccer Bundesliga match between SC Freiburg and FC Bayern Munich in Freiburg, Germany, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (Patrick Seeger/dpa via AP)
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Robert Lewandowski picked up where he left off.

The Polish striker scored twice for Bayern Munich, once in stoppage time, as the Bavarians improved their Bundesliga lead to six points after toppling Freiburg 2-1 on Friday.

[ MORE: Bundesliga second half preview ]

And what a winner it was, Lewandowski taking a Douglas Costa cross with two juggling touches before hitting an offspeed bouncer inside the post.

It was the league’s first match following the winter/holiday break, giving Bayern a cushion before RB Leipzig takes the pitch against Eintracht Frankfurt in a Top Five tilt on Saturday.

Lewandowski moves closer to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the goal scoring chart. His 13th and 14th goals have him two back of Borussia Dortmund’s striker, as Lewandowski pursues a third Golden Boot in four seasons.

Full Weekend Schedule
Freiburg 1-2 Bayern Munich — Friday
Augsburg vs. Hoffenheim — Saturday
Schalke vs. Ingolstadt — Saturday
Darmstadt vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — Saturday
Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Dortmund — Saturday
Wolfsburg vs. Hamburger SV — Saturday
RB Leipzig vs. Eintracht Frankfurt — Saturday
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hertha Berlin — Sunday
Mainz vs. Koln — Sunday