Seattle Sounders to separate business operations from NFL’s Seahawks

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Consider this a sign of growth. Whereas once the Seattle Sounders leaned on their NFL brethren, the Seattle Seahawks, for operational expertise, the team is now ready to pave its own way. On Apr. 30, one of Major League Soccer’s most successful teams will separate from its partners, severing the tie that helped it become the league’s most profitable and highest-drawing club.

The Sounders announced the decision Thursday afternoon Pacific time, with majority owner Joe Roth hinting the time had come for his franchise to spread its wings.

“This is a sensible business decision for our franchise,” Roth said in the team’s statement. “Our vision is to grow our business to unprecedented levels both domestically and abroad. This move will position us to achieve that goal.”

To this point, the Sounders have used their link with the Seahawks for business and organizational support, a relationship that was especially helpful in accelerating the franchise’s growth after it joined Major League Soccer in 2007 (beginning play in 2009). After the separation, however, the Sounders will set up new, independent business offices from Paul Allen’s Vulcan Sports & Entertainment.

The team is still staying at CenturyLink Field and has no intention of moving. And with Allen still owning 25 percent of the club, there will still be a natural connection between CenturyLink’s co-tenants. Yet five years into a trajectory that will see the Sounders become the league’s must successful business operation (if it’s not there already), the Sounders are ready to fly on their own.

“This move further demonstrates our commitment to our passionate fan base and our staff,” owner and general manager Adrian Hanauer said in today’s statement. “We’re excited to … continue to grow our brand under the banner of Sounders 2.0.”

That description — moving to 2.0 — hints at the significance of this move. Whereas the Sounders are currently part of a set of investments under the Vulcan, Inc. umbrella, the team now set to strike out on their own.

Later in the day, Hanauer described the move as taking off training wheels. Based on Roth’s comments, the team obviously has high hopes. If in any way Vulcan’s management had begun holding Seattle back, it will be scary so see what an unrestrained Sounders are capable of accomplishing.

First pick Joao Moutinho scores first LAFC goal in preseason

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Los Angeles FC will need all of its new assets to contribute as the club looks to find its footing in MLS during its inaugural season.

That includes the team’s first-ever MLS SuperDraft selection, who is already paying big dividends for the expansion team.

Former University of Akron defender Joao Moutinho scored the lone goal for LAFC during Sunday’s 1-0 preseason friendly win over USL side Sacramento Republic FC.

Moutinho, who has primarily played left back for LAFC during preseason, shot down the left side of the pitch in the 60th minute before blasting a low shot into the far corner.

The defender is no stranger to finding the back of the net though, after scoring three goals and adding five assists last year in his lone campaign at the University of Akron.

Henry: Arsenal job would be a “dream for me”

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Thierry Henry remains a legend within the ranks of Arsenal, and the former striker says it would “be a dream” if he were to grab hold of the reigns at the London club.

[ MORE: Guardiola hails Man City as trophy haul begins ]

The Frenchman is currently a commentator in England and an assistant manager for the Belgium national team, however, the ex-Gunner clearly has his sights set on becoming the lead man at Arsenal one day.

“It would be a dream for me,” Henry told Sky Sports. “Interested [in the job]? Yes. Who wouldn’t be?

“But I can’t talk about it because of the respect that I have for the man in charge still, and my job that I’m doing with Belgium right now.”

Long-time manager Arsene Wenger and Henry have remained close for many years, even after Henry exited the Premier League giants, and it would likely take the former to step down from his position for Henry to have a shot at nabbing the job.

Wenger has been in charge at the Emirates Stadium since 1996, and has won three Premier League titles in that span, to go along with the rest of his club’s silverware.

UEFA bans Samir Nasri six months for IV treatment

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Former Premier League midfielder Samir Nasri has been banned for six months by European governing body UEFA for receiving an intravenous drip treatment in Los Angeles, California in December 2016.

[ MORE: Guardiola hails Man City as trophy haul begins ]

During the time in question, Nasri was on loan from Manchester City with Spanish side Sevilla.

Nasri reportedly received the treatment upon an initial diagnosis from his ex-girlfriend Dr. Sarabjit Anand. He later traveled to LA for the treatment, where a private medical company known as the Drip Doctors, set up the IV drip for Nasri.

The IV was said to have contained sterile water containing 50 milliliters of micronutrient components, which given in an infusion over the span of six hours is considered illegal by the World Anti-doping Agency.

Nasri is without a club at this time, after last appearing for Turkish club Antalyaspor in January. The 30-year-old left the side this winter after making just eight appearances in all competitions.

PSG suffers big blow as Neymar stretchered off against Marseille

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With an important run of fixtures upcoming, including a UEFA Champions League date with Real Madrid, the Parisians received disappointing news on Sunday.

[ MORE: Guardiola hails Man City as trophy haul begins ]

Despite picking up a 3-0 victory against Marseille, Paris Saint-Germain suffered a massive blow in the second stanza after Neymar was stretchered off the pitch with a right leg injury in the 81st minute.

The Brazilian international appeared to twist his ankle upon landing on the ground after going in for a challenge, although there was no contact when the attacker went down in agony.

Minutes after suffering the apparent ankle injury, Neymar was carried off the field on a stretcher by medical staff, raising questions about his availability in the coming weeks.

PSG faces a crucial run of matches, including Wednesday’s French Cup match against Marseille and their second leg UCL fixture against Real Madrid.

Unai Emery and his side currently trail 3-1 against Los Blancos, as the tie heads back to Paris for the second meeting.

This season, Neymar has tallied 28 goals in all competitions for the Parisians, including six finishes in the UCL, so his potential absence would be a huge blow to PSG’s hopes of advancing to the quarterfinals.