Tim Howard inks Everton extension, signs through 2017-18 season

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Notice the end year on this one, U.S. fans: 2018. That’s how long Tim Howard’s set to be at Everton, with the club’s late Wednesday announcement confirming a contract extension that will take the United States’ number one through the Russia World Cup.

It’s the soccer world, so there’s no guarantee the 35-year-old will actually be between the Toffees’ posts when he turns 39, but the extension is a sign of faith. Enjoying one of his best seasons in English soccer, the former MetroStars and Manchester United keeper has shown few signs of age, with any decrease in his remarkable athleticism augmented by the experience of 12 years in the Premier League. Set to start for the U.S. this summer in Brazil, Howard continues to be relevant beyond Goodison Park, cementing his name in a long line of standout U.S. goalies.

Everton manager Roberto Martínez, from the club’s website:

“It is fantastic news,” Martinez told evertontv. “To have Tim Howard performing as he has been this season, I cannot see past him to choose the best goalkeeper in the league.

“For him, in such an important year with the World Cup around the corner, to commit his future for the long term is an incredible moment for the dressing room.”

“I am extremely proud of Tim’s achievements for the football Club,” continued Martinez.

“On top of his goalkeeping it’s his overall demeanour and personality in the dressing room. He is a strong leader.”

Howard’s also a big reason why Everton’s only conceded 34 times this season, the second lowest rate in the Premier League. Though the Toffees’ more possession-conscious approach has helped limit Howard’s exposure, the New Jersey native has still been among the league’s standouts at the position.

Given that level of performance and the knowledge Howard plans to be around in 2018, does this mean another World Cup run? On one level, it feels like the kind of obligatory, speculative question that always gets tossed into posts like this. On another, it’s legitimately worth asking, with the aging curve for goalkeepers typically far more gentle than for field players.

Will 39-year-old Tim Howard be that different from the 35-year-old? Because if he’s not, then Howard should be a contender (if not an outright favorite) for number one spot in Russia.

(And … cue the Howard vs. Guzan debate …)

2-year doping ban upheld for Finland, CSKA Moscow player

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld a two-year ban for CSKA Moscow midfielder Roman Eremenko for a positive test for cocaine.

[ MORE: Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]

CAS says the ban imposed by UEFA was “appropriate” and dismissed the Finland international’s appeal.

[ MORE: Vertonghen says Spurs need to “level up” like rest of PL contenders ]

The ban will expire on Oct. 5, 2018, when Eremenko will be 31.

Eremenko tested positive after playing in a Champions League game for CSKA Moscow against Bayer Leverkusen last September. The 2-2 result was not affected despite Eremenko scoring CSKA’s second goal.

Born in Moscow, Eremenko grew up in Finland and has represented its national team 73 times.

Webb says De Jong would have been sent off with video review

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NEW YORK (AP) Howard Webb says he would have given Dutch midfielder Nigel De Jong a red card in the 2010 World Cup final if a video assistant referee had been in place.

The retired English referee showed De Jong a yellow card in the 28th minute for his karate kick into the chest of Spain’s Xabi Alonso. Hired in March to oversee video technology for professional soccer in the U.S. and Canada, Webb held a media seminar Friday ahead of its Aug. 5 launch in Major League Soccer.

Webb says: “Yes, it was a clear red card. It was a clear and obvious error on my part not to send the player off, and VAR would have been able to recommend a review to me, and I would have been able to make the right call.”

Now 46, Webb was a Premier League referee from 2003-14. He worked the Champions League and World Cup finals in 2010, became director of referees at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, and started in March as manager of video assistant referee operations for the Professional Referee Organization.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City 0-1 Atlanta United (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Friday night’s effort at Orlando City Stadium wasn’t the prettiest for either side but Atlanta United will gladly take three points from the fixture as the Central Florida venue proved to be a fortress once more. The Lions were far superior in their attacking threats throughout the match, testing USMNT and Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan on multiple occasions. However, it was Hector Villalba that proved to be the difference when he blasted a long-distance effort to beat Joe Bendik in the 86th minute. Atlanta extends its unbeaten streak to four matches with Friday’s decision, keeping Tata Martino’s side in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, while Orlando City moves into fifth.

Three moments that mattered

36′ — Guzan stands tall, denies Rivas — Carlos Rivas thought he scorched this one (and he did…), but Brad Guzan acted like it was nothing as he held his ground to make the stop.

39′ — Spector gets ripped off by Guzan — The U.S. goalkeeper is at it again… What a save!

86′ — Villalba unleashes stunner to propel Atlanta — Sometimes it just takes one good hit as a striker.

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Man of the match: Brad Guzan

Goalscorers: Hector Villalba (86′)

Report: Man City adding Mendy to continue backline restoration

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Fresh off of completing a record deal to help bolster the club’s back line this summer, Manchester City is back at it with the Premier League season looming.

[ MORE: Alvaro Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]

The Citizens are reportedly on the brink of signing Monaco left back Benjamin Mendy to yet another world-record fee — which will total over $67 million.

Confirmation of the deal has yet to be announced by either team, but L’Equipe is reporting that the Citizens are hot on the 23-year-old’s trail in adding to their pricy back four.

Manager Pep Guardiola and Man City have not been shy readjusting their defensive unit over the past year, adding expensive first-team choices John Stones and Kyle Walker.