Sporting Kansas City v Chicago Fire

Watch Live: D.C. United vs. Chicago Fire (Lineups and Discuss)

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United States international Eddie Johnson and his new team, D.C. United, get their best chance of the season to crack into the win column when 2013 MVP Mike Magee and the Chicago Fire visit RFK Stadium this afternoon. NBCSN’s coverage from the national’s capital starts at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, with the game also available via NBC Sports Live Extra.

United showed improvement last week at BMO Field in Toronto, where a Jermain Defoe goal was all that separated Ben Olsen’s team from its first point of the season. Over 180 minutes, however, the numbers are less flattering. Coming off an opening day, 3-0 loss to Columbus, D.C.’s second defeat of the season left the team 0-2-0, having yet to score a goal.

That puts Johnson, the team’s big offseason acquisition, in the spotlight, but getting the ball to its new striker has been one of D.C.’s problems. To improve on that, Johnson must get help from the players behind him. A midfield of Nick DeLeon and Lewis Neal (in for Davy Arnaud) anchored by Perry Kitchen needs to have a greater impact than it’s had over the season’s first two games, allowing attacking midfielder Luis Silva and supporting striker Fabian Espindola to generate opportunities for Johnson.

In the face of those options, Chicago will rely on the triangle at the middle of its defense to maintain the strength its showed over the last two games. After opening the season with three goals allowed at Chivas USA, the Fire have limited both Portland and New York to one each, with strong play from midfield linchpin Jeff Larentowicz making life easier for central defenders Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Bakary Soumaré. Last week, the Red Bulls’ only goal came from some penalty box chaos after a corner kick.

Up top, the Fire will be looking to get Magee back to his 2013 self. Coming off a career high 21 goals, Magee has yet to get on the scoresheet this season, something he’ll be looking to change against Bobby Boswell and Jeff Parke. Imported from Houston and Philadelphia (respectively) this offseason, D.C.’s central defense tandem has been unable to prevent United from conceding four times through two games.

Improve today, and D.C. should claim its first points of the season. Continue to struggle, and Frank Yallop’s team could leave RFK with its first victory of 2014.

LINEUPS

D.C. United: Hamid; Franklin, Boswell, Parke, Fernandez; DeLeon, Kitchen, Neal; Silva; Espindola, Johnson

Subs: Dykstra, Attakora, Kemp, Arnaud, Jeffrey, Caskey, Doyle

Chicago Fire: Johnson; Watson, Hurtado, Soumaré, Cochrane; Shipp, Larentowicz, Alex, Joya; Magee, Amarikwa

Subs: Reynish, Ianni, Pause, Nyarko, Rolfe, Anangono, Gentile

Sydney FC return to winning ways in A-League

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 24:  Goalkeeper Danny Vukovic of Sydney FC makes a save as Bruno Fornaroli of City competes for the ball during the round 21 A-League match between Melbourne City and Sydney FC at AAMI Park on February 24, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
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SYDNEY (AP) Bobo scored twice as Sydney FC rebounded from its first loss in the A-League to beat Melbourne City 3-1 and continue atop the table.

[ MORE: Schmeichel speaks about Ranieri sacking, state of Leicester ]

Sydney’s ambitious attempt to become the first team to end the regular season unbeaten came unstuck last week when it was beaten by Western Sydney Wanderers in a fractious local derby, repercussions of which continued through the week. Wanderers were fined $20,000 by Football Federation Australia after its fans unfurled an obscene banner targeting Sydney coach Graham Arnold.

[ MORE: Chelsea, Everton extend unbeaten run in Saturday’s PL play ]

Sydney raised itself above that controversy on Friday with a comprehensive win over Melbourne City which briefly took it 11 points clear in first place.

Melbourne Victory restored the gap to eight points when it beat defending champion Adelaide United 2-1, and Perth leapfrogged Melbourne City into third place when it dumped the Wanderers 2-0.

Bobo opened Sydney’s scoring with a penalty, but City canceled that out only a minute later.

Sydney went in front again after the break, and Bobo sealed the win, set up by a superb through ball by Milos Ninkovic which highlighted their developing combination.

Midfielder Brandon O’Neil said Sydney was determined to leave behind the contention of their derby loss.

“When it all came out, the FFA and Western Sydney had to deal with it and it did,” O’Neil said. “It brought us together and we spoke about a few things, and nothing changed for us. We want to be premier (champions).”

Melbourne Victory’s win over Adelaide kept it in touch with Sydney with seven regular season rounds remaining.

Wellington kept its faint playoff hopes alive, staying in seventh place with a 2-1 win over Brisbane.

Whitecaps acquire U.S. defender Brek Shea in deal with Orlando City

Toronto FC v Orlando City SC
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With almost a week to go until the Major League Soccer season kicks off, the Vancouver Whitecaps and Orlando City may have pulled off one of the biggest trades of offseason.

[ MORE: MLS negotiating to bring Chicharito to U.S. in 2018 ]

The clubs announced on Saturday that the Whitecaps have acquired U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder/defender Brek Shea in exchange for forward Giles Barnes, who is headed to Orlando City.

“We are excited to welcome Brek to our club and city,” said Whitecaps FC manager Carl Robinson. “Brek is a tall, physical, skilled player and will bring a different dimension to our attack. Brek will join the group in coming days and we anticipate he will be available for selection as early as this Thursday’s Champions League match against New York.”

Shea, 26, began his career in MLS with FC Dallas before heading to England for a brief stint with Stoke City. The U.S. defender made his way back to MLS ahead of Orlando City’s inaugural season in 2015 and started 39 matches in that span.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Meanwhile, Barnes has scored 33 goals since joining MLS in 2012. The 28-year-old forward played with the Houston Dynamo before spending last season with the Whitecaps.

Report: MLS negotiating to bring Chicharito to U.S. in 2018

Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, Bayer Leverkusen & Mexico
AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
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Major League Soccer has attracted some of the world’s biggest stars over recent years and now one of the Mexican national team’s top talents could be heading stateside very soon.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

According to ESPN FC, MLS is currently in negotiations with Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen in an attempt to lure Mexican striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez to the U.S. in the summer of 2018.

Expansion side Los Angeles FC has been heavily linked with Hernandez, with the club making its entrance into MLS in 2018. Additionally, the Los Angeles Galaxy have also been said to have strong ties with Chicharito.

Hernandez, 28, is currently under contract until next summer, and MLS is reportedly seeking a move in 2018 to avoid paying a transfer fee for the El Tri forward.

ESPN FC is also reporting that Chicharito could make around $9 million annually if he does in fact join MLS.

In 2015, Orlando City and the Chicago Fire were both linked with acquiring Hernandez but the Leverkusen forward was insistent upon the fact that he play Champions League football.

PL Sunday: Spurs look to regain second against Stoke

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Although there’s only one match on Sunday’s Premier League docket, the fixture bears great weight for both clubs.

[ MORE: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Tottenham vs. Stoke City — 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Spurs have the chance to move back into second place at White Hart Lane as Mauricio Pochettino‘s side are firmly in a battle to finish runners’ up to Chelsea this season. Tottenham currently sit 13 points out of the top spot, however, five clubs are within four points of another in the battle for second. Danny Rose and Erik Lamela remain sidelined due to injuries but Spurs will remain the favorites in the fixture after having won their previous two league meetings.

Stoke enters Sunday having gone unbeaten in five of its last six PL matches and the Potters can enter the top 10 with a victory. Mark Hughes‘ side could be given a big lift with the potential return of Xherdan Shaqiri while Saido Berahino could be in line to earn his first start since joining Stoke. Both players could present massive upside for the Potters, who have struggled to find goals as of late. In their last four matches, Stoke have managed just three finishes, one of which came from an own goal.