Championship Sunday focus: Newcastle United

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Story so far…  Things were going swimmingly for Alan Pardew and Newcastle earlier this season, as the Magpies flirted with the top four around the festive period. Then the wheels came off, massively. A run of six-straight defeats, after Pardew had been handed a hefty ban due to head-butting an opposition player, saw the fans turn on their manager, the owner and then finally their club. Loic Remy has been the star man, as the on-loan Frenchman has scored 14 goals in 29 appearances. He won’t stick around next season and its highly unlikely that Pardew will be around too.

MORE: Head here for all things Championship Sunday

Will under-fire owner Mike Ashley sell the club or continue to battle on despite protests at every game from Newcastle’s fans? A turbulent time awaits this summer on the Tyne after a season that promised so much has delivered very little.

Who do they play and where can I watch it: Newcastle have the chance to throw a massive spanner in the works of Liverpool’s title bid as the Magpies travel to Anfield on the final day of the season. These two clubs have played out some of the PL’s most exciting matches in history. Tune into NBCSN to watch live at 10 a.m. to see if they can repeat it and stream the game online via NBC Sports Live Extra.

Form guide: Earlier on this season Liverpool had a torrid time at St. James’ Park as they drew 2-2 just before Newcastle’s best spell of the campaign when they won all four games in November. They have been on a horrendous run of late with six defeats in a row until they beat Cardiff City last weekend.

March 29 – at Southampton, L 0-4
April 5 – vs. Manchester United, L 0-4
April 12 – at Stoke City, L 0-1
April 19 – vs. Swansea, L 1-2
April 28 – at Arsenal, L 0-3
May 3 – vs. Cardiff City, W 3-0

What’s at stake: The highest they can finish is in ninth, while defeat to Liverpool could see the St. James’ Park club finish in tenth if Stoke beat West Brom away from home.

When the final whistle blows: I expect Newcastle to finish in ninth but after in an incredible tail-spin to end the season, don’t be surprised if wholesale changes arrive at St. James’ this summer. The PL’s second longest serving manager, Pardew, is walking on thin ice. It is getting thinner by the second as the fans revolt in the North East.

U.S. Open Cup roundup: Poku lifts Miami; Red Bulls, Cincy win on PKs

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While MLS represents the majority of the remaining clubs in this year’s U.S. Open Cup, one side continues to defy the odds.

[ MORE: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson ]

Miami FC reached their first quarterfinal in club history after knocking off Atlanta United late on Wednesday, behind a goal and an assist from Kwadwo Poku. The victory for Miami sets up a date with FC Cincinnati — who pulled off an unbelievable shootout win against the Chicago Fire.

Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution both advanced on the night with wins over the Philadelphia Union and D.C. United, respectively. The Red Bulls and Revs will meet in the final eight as well.

Sporting KC kept its hope of hoisting a fourth U.S. Open Cup title alive on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. The 2015 winners will take on FC Dallas — who defeated the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday night.

Here are all the results from tonight’s Open Cup action.

Houston Dynamo 0-2 Sporting KC
New England Revolution 2-1 D.C. United
Miami FC 3-2 Atlanta United
New York Red Bulls 1-1 (5-3 on PKs) Philadelphia Union
FC Cincinnati 0-0 (3-1 on PKs) Chicago Fire
San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 Seattle Sounders
LA Galaxy 2-0 Sacramento Republic

Report: City Football Group set to expand outreach with Girona deal

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City Football Group appears on the verge of adding to its global outreach, and it’s next destination looks to be in Spain.

[ MORE: Are Southampton’s days of selling behind the club? ]

The group of investors, which are known for controlling Premier League side Manchester City, are reportedly nearing a deal to purchase a partial stake in Spanish club Girona — which is set to make its La Liga debut in 2017/18.

CFG is said to be gaining a near “50 percent” stake in the club, with the rest of the club owned by Media Base, a company owned by Pep Guardiola‘s brother, Pere.

Over recent years, CFG has vastly expanded its ownership outreach and currently has a stake in five clubs around the world, with Girona set to be the sixth.

MLS side New York City FC, Australian A-League side Melbourne City FC, Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos and Club Atletico Torque in Uruguay are all part of the CFG enterprise, alongside Man City.

New York Red Bulls ink goalkeeper Luis Robles to new deal

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The “Iron Man” will keep up his amazing journey with the New York Red Bulls, after signing a new deal with the club on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder on verge of joining Los Angeles FC ]

Goalkeeper Luis Robles has extended his contract with the reigning Eastern Conference champions, as the American continues to raise his consecutive starts streak, which stands at 157.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed in the club’s release.

Robles joined the Red Bulls back in 2012 after playing in Germany, and the shot-stopper hasn’t missed a start ever since.

Report: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson

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Minnesota United has had its shares of ups and down in its debut MLS season, but the Loons are on the verge making an exciting young signing.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder closing in on Los Angeles FC move ]

ESPN FC is reporting that Minnesota will sign Hearts winger Sam Nicholson from the Scottish Premier League on a deal that makes him a Loon until 2019.

The young attacker is expected to join the MLS side when the summer transfer window opens on July 10.

Nicholson, 22, has played with the Edinburgh side since his youth days, and made his senior debut with the club in 2013. During his time at Hearts, Nicholson scored 16 goals in all competitions for the team.

Last season, Nicholson missed 16 matches due to a significant knee injury.

According to the report, Scottish sides Rangers and Aberdeen were also among those interested in acquiring Nicholson, while English Championship clubs Bristol City and Barnsley also reached out about the attacker.