Championship Sunday focus: Manchester United

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Story so far…  Quite simply it has been an Annus horribilis for Manchester United, as the Red Devils endured their worst-ever Premier League season and the defending champions surrendered their crown with a whimper. David Moyes lasted less than 10 months as Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor as the Scotsman just couldn’t handle the demands of leading an aging United side through transition. Making it to the UCL quarterfinals was a small positive in a season full of negatives. Who will be the next boss at Old Trafford?

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That remains the big question hanging over the club at the end of this campaign, as interim boss Ryan Giggs doesn’t seem to be the preferred candidate and big names likes Carlo Ancelotti and Louis van Gaal continued to be linked with the job. The rebuilding of an empire is underway at Old Trafford. This could take a while, especially after such a demoralizing season.

Who do they play and where can I watch it: United travel to play Southampton down at St. Mary’s Stadium, live on SyFy At 10 a.m. ET and you stream it online via NBC Sports Live Extra. In the past Southampton has been an unhappy hunting ground for the Red Devils after a series of devastating defeats in the 90s. Will they endure a miserable end to a truly shambolic season?

Form guide: United drew 1-1 at home with Southampton earlier this season as Saints bagged a last minute equalizer at Old Trafford. Giggs has won two of his three games in charge thus far and will be hoping his team can finish the season on a high.

March 29 – vs. Aston Villa, W 4-1
April 5 – at Newcastle, W 4-0
April 20 – at Everton, L 2-0
April 26 – vs. Norwich City, W 4-0
May 3 – vs. Sunderland, L 0-1
May 6 – vs. Hull City, W 3-1

What’s at stake: United can finish in sixth if they beat Southampton and no lower than seventh. If Giggs’ side beat Saints then they need Tottenham to lose at home to Aston Villa in order for the Red Devils to finish sixth and qualify for the Europa League.

When the final whistle blows: I think United will be in seventh, their lowest ever PL finish and the first time they’ve ever finished outside the top four. A monumental rebuild is underway at Old Trafford. Will Louis van Gaal, or somebody else, be the chief architect next season? Get ready for a summer of rumored transfers and huge upheaval, United fans.

MLS SuperDraft 2018 Live Tracker

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For a few dozen players, hearing their name called up to the big stage will validate all the hard work and sacrifices they’ve made since they were children.

Starting at 11:00 a.m. when Los Angeles FC is on the clock at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, the 2018 MLS SuperDraft will be underway. Many of the top college prospects will soon find out whether they’ll be headed to the Pacific Northwest, New England, the Southeast, Southern California or anywhere in between.

[MORE: 2018 MLS Mock Draft]

This year’s draft class is loaded with attacking talent, from Generation Adidas trio Ema Twumasi (Wake Forest), Mason Toye (Indiana) and Francis Atuahene (Michigan) to Twumasi’s college teammate Jon Bakero.

But potential No. 1 overall pick is a three-time national champion, Thomas Hilliard-Arce, who could become the anchor of a backline for a decade.

Follow along below as we update the picks live as we hear them:

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Bayern signs Germany midfielder Goretzka from rival Schalke

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MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich signed Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka on Friday on a free transfer from Bundesliga rival Schalke effective from next season.

Bayern said the 22-year-old Goretzka signed a four-year deal from July 1 through June 2022.

Schalke, which Goretzka joined in 2013 from hometown club Bochum, said the player informed the club this week of his wish to join Bayern when his contract expired.

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“We think we did everything in the last months to convince Leon to stay with us,” Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel said. “In the end, it wasn’t enough.”

Schalke had long been engaged in trying to get Goretzka to extend his contract, but was aware of reported interest from Bayern, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Liverpool.

“We’re very happy that Leon Goretzka, a German international with big potential, has decided in favor of Bayern despite big-name international competitors. This way it’s ensured that Leon Goretzka remains in the Bundesliga,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.

Goretzka scored 19 goals and set up 13 more in 130 appearances for Schalke.

The club had previously expressed its displeasure with Bayern making public statements about its player after Goretzka was praised by sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic and coach Jupp Heynckes.

Heidel said “we don’t need to hear every day from the Munich people how good our player is.”

Goretzka has six goals in 12 games for Germany.

Pele hospitalized overnight in Brazil

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The most famous soccer player in the world had a scare last night as he was hospitalized in Brazil for “severe exhaustion.”

Pele, 77, was set to travel to London this weekend to be honored by the Football Writers Association, though it looks like that trip has now been postponed.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Pele collapsed and was taken to a hospital in Brazil where he has undergone a series of tests which appear to point to severe exhaustion,” a FWA statement said. “He remains on fluids while doctors monitor his recovery.

“Thankfully, there is no suggestion of anything more serious than exhaustion.”

Here’s to hoping Pele makes a full recovery.

[MORE: USMNT centerback heads to Championship club]

USMNT centerback Carter-Vickers heads to Ipswich Town on loan

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Cameron Carter-Vickers has a new club to call home for the next five months or so after a rough first half of the season.

Tottenham announced Friday morning that it had loaned the U.S. Men’s National Team centerback to Championship club Ipswich Town for the rest of the season. Carter-Vickers spent the first five months of the season at fellow Championship side Sheffield United, starting 17 times though he struggled recently as Sheffield won just one game he played in during the month of December, losing three and drawing one.

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Carter-Vickers was then recalled earlier this week and now has a new home with a mid-table Championship club, with a new chance to impress. Hopefully Carter-Vickers can recover his form and continue to grow, potentially latching on to another Premier League side next year or breaking into the Tottenham first team.

There’s another interesting American tie-in to this. Carter-Vickers appears to be a short-term replacement for Ipswich Town’s Tommy Smith, who the club states is headed to join the Colorado Rapids ahead of the 2018 MLS season.