David Moyes feeling the heat, hits back at rumors of dressing room split at Manchester United

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On the eve of a season-defining game, Manchester United boss David Moyes has hit out at critics trying to derail his side. Many would argue he’s doing a pretty good job of that himself.

Regardless, rumors of a dressing room rift between Moyes and his players have been circling for months and with the likes of Nemanja Vidic on the way out, plus speculation about Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and Robin van Persie all unhappy playing for Moyes, the Scottish manager has finally moved to quell any suggestions that he has lost the locker room.

“A lot of people are trying to divide us in some way or not keep us together,” Moyes said in an exclusive interview with the clubs TV station, MUTV. “I can only tell people what they’re hearing or what they are saying is rubbish.”

(MORE: Champions League Preview – With blindfold and cigarette, Moyes faces the firing line)

With a massive second leg of their last 16 UEFA Champions League tie coming up against Olympiakos on Wednesday, Moyes’ men must overturn a 2-0 deficit from the first leg to make it into the quarterfinals of the UCL. Right now, success in Europe’s elite club competition is the only thing that’s keeping the Red Devils going. Even that’s hanging by a thread, with Moyes under increasing pressure to deliver results in his dreadful first season in charge.

A monumental night awaits, as its simply win or bust for the the English powerhouse against Olympiakos.

Any lingering hopes they had of finishing in the top four of the Premier League were ended last Sunday in that crushing 3-0 home defeat to Northwest rivals Liverpool, so now everything is aimed at getting as far as they possibly can in the UCL. For most of this ill-fated 2013-14 season, this tournament has acted as a release for Moyes and his players after the intense pressure of the post-Ferguson era has visibly eaten away at the playing and coaching staff.

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Time and time again people question whether or not Moyes was the right man to take the reins, but with this Fergie-esque rallying cry for togetherness before United’s biggest test of the campaign, he may yet get the best out of his under performing stars. Once again, that siege mentality has returned to Old Trafford after it had hung around for most of Ferguson’s time in charge. ‘Us against them, Man United against the world.’

For Moyes and Manchester United, this is judgement day. There’s no going back, in his first-season at the helm Moyes may have to win against Olympiakos, or kiss goodbye to his job. Seriously. He deserves more time, but this is a results business.

And, as you probably already know, United ain’t getting ’em.

Remember, we will have recaps, analysis and reactions from all the UEFA Champions League action right here on ProSoccerTalk.

WATCH: Camila’s wicked swerving goal for Brazil

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The Tournament of Nations got underway earlier Thursday, with Brazil and Japan drawing 1-1 in Seattle.

While some in the crowd may’ve been waiting to see the United States women’s national team and Australia in the second game of the twin bill, they got an absolute treat from Brazil’s Camila.

[ MORE: Galaxy’s season-changing signing ]

The Orlando Pride midfielder is yet to scoop up 10 caps, but blasted this 25-yard goal home with a wicked outside bend.

The aesthetics are terrific.

LA Galaxy’s second Dos Santos signing is a season-changer

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Remember this day, MLS fans, as one that perhaps helped determine an MLS Cup Finalist.

The LA Galaxy have signed Villarreal midfielder and Mexican national teamer Jonathan Dos Santos, and he’s the sort of player who could alter the landscape of the Western Conference.

Like Nicolas Lodeiro to Seattle last season and New England’s addition of Jermaine Jones in 2014, Dos Santos’ move comes with the distinct possibility of elevating LA into the next stratosphere.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

Take the Galaxy’s history of winning, and toss in a midseason coaching improvement from Curt Onalfo to Sigi Schmid, as well as MVP-in-their-own-right caliber teammates Giovani Dos Santos, Romain Alessandrini, and Jelle van Damme.

Don’t sleep on the fact that Schmid might be gathering momentum from inheriting a talented and underachieving roster and a brand new game-changing midfielder, which feels a bit like karmic retribution for Seattle firing him and signing Lodeiro the next day last season. Seattle only went and won the MLS Cup.

Schmid has used any number of formations, but could deploy a 4-3-3 with Jona Dos Santos, Jermaine Jones, and Joao Pedro in the midfielder and Giovani Dos Santos, Alessandrini, and Gyasi Zardes up top (Sebastian Lletget could return at some point, too).

Now FC Dallas is very deep, Sporting KC looks powerful, and Seattle won it all last year — plus, may be adding Derlis Gonzalez?!? — but LA’s move to add Dos Santos creates a quartet of teams with proven mettle (Houston looks decent, too, but I have concerns about their first-time as a unit in the playoffs).

Joey Barton’s gambling ban lowered by almost 5 months

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Joey Barton’s 18-month ban for betting on almost 1,300 soccer-related events has been lowered to 13 months and one week.

Putting aside the hilarity of grown men and women discussing whether an extra week was necessary, the alteration means he’ll be eligible to return to football on June 1, 2018.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

While that still hampers the idea of the 34-year-old playing again — he’ll be 36 when the ban ends — it’s a significant change if he’s open to the idea of returning to the game.

Barton’s original ban expired in late October 2018, well into a season. From Sky Sports:

The appeal board also agreed: “It was clear that Mr Barton was not involved in any cheating, he did not influence any games and there was nothing suspicious about his bets.

“(The reduction) reflects the overall seriousness of the breaches and also the mitigation of Mr Barton’s addiction.”

Barton’s remarkably controversial career has including several suspensions and imprisonment, but he always found his way back to the field and was very good when in form. After time at Manchester City and Newcastle United, Barton fended off naysayers with stints at QPR, Marseille, Burnley, and a regrettable move to Rangers.

We may see him on the field in August 2018.

FIFA fines Qatar after players’ political support for Emir

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has fined Qatar’s soccer federation after national team players breached rules against political statements by displaying T-shirts of the country’s Emir at a World Cup qualifier.

FIFA says its disciplinary panel imposed a 50,000 Swiss francs ($51,800) fine and reprimanded Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host.

[ MORE: Nainggolan staying at Roma ]

The incident happened in Doha on June 13, amid a dispute with regional rivals Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Qatar’s players warmed up for a 3-2 win over South Korea wearing white T-shirts with an image of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to show their support for him.

FIFA says the charges related to “displaying a political image” and “political displays” by spectators.