Who got snubbed? Biggest names missing from USMNT’s 30-man provisional

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It’s a pretty bad day to be Eddie Johnson, and not a shining moment for those who projected him as a lock for the 2014 World Cup team, as the DC United forward has been left off Jurgen Klinsmann’s 30-man provisional roster for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

The talk was that Klinsmann wanted to see his players going against top European competition, but he’s included 15 MLS players on the provisional roster and there are plenty of European snubs. This was not a ringing endorsement for England’s second flight.

MORE: All the latest news on World Cup rosters

Let’s take a look at EJ and the other big US names who won’t be going to Brazil as a player, barring something earth-shattering.

Eddie Johnson, DC United: The mercurial 30-year-old was tipped to be a pivotal sub by many based on his track record of netting 19 times in 63 caps, including five goals in 2013 (against the likes of Bosnia & Herzegovina and Mexico amongst others). But Johnson has yet to score through eight matches for DC United this year, and managed just three shots in his four US caps at the end of 2013. Maybe it was unexpected to some, but the move seems fitting.

Juan Agudelo, unattached: Recently released by Stoke after coming to a mutual agreement to part ways — Agudelo could not land an English work permit twice — the youngster is reportedly being courted by a number of top-flight teams in Holland. Agudelo made Klinsmann’s decision tough with three goals and three assists in 14 appearances on loan at FC Utrecht. The 6-foot-1 player is just 21.

Brek Shea, Stoke City: The big Texan’s form dipped in his final MLS season, and a transfer to Stoke did not help the 24-year-old.  Shea was sent on loan to Barnsley where he made an immediate impact before finding himself in the middle of a controversial confrontation with home fans, an incident that earned him a trip back to Stoke. His pace had many tipping him for a space on the wing-light USMNT. It didn’t happen.

Danny Williams, Reading: A three-goal season and playoff-contending season with Reading was not enough to keep the German-born 25-year-old from exclusion. Williams was inconsistent in appearances wearing the stars and stripes, with 13 caps.

Sacha Kljestan, Anderlecht: He’s struggled to find playing time with Anderlecht after a strong few years in Belgium, and just hasn’t made his way onto Klinsmann’s favored list. The Ukraine game may have been his last chance to make an impact.

Oguchi Onyewu, Sheffield Wednesday: Onyewu has been strong against Championship forwards with Sheffield Wednesday, but Klinsmann’s not looking to risk his defending in a swift and deadly Group G.

Other snubs: Luis Gil, Tim Ream, Jonathan Spector, Jose Torres, Herculez Gomez.

Former Czech Republic defender Rajtoral kills himself

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PRAGUE (AP) Former Czech Republic defender Frantisek Rajtoral, who won the domestic league title four times before joining Turkish club Gaziantepspor, died on Sunday. He was 31.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alex Sanchez this weekend ]

The Czech football federation said in a statement that Rajtoral had “committed suicide in Turkey.”

His agent Pavel Zika confirmed the player’s death, describing it as a “huge tragedy.”

Gaziantepspor announced Rajtoral’s death in a brief statement on its website.

Rajtoral played 14 international matches for the Czech Republic.

In the top Czech league, he won four titles with Viktoria Plzen and played in the group stage of the Champions League twice for the club. He moved to Hannover in the Bundesliga in 2014 for half of the season, on loan.

He left Viktoria Plzen last year to move to Turkey.

Bellerin wants to represent Spain U21s despite Wenger’s wishes

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Arsene Wenger has made it clear about Hector Bellerin representing Spain this summer but the Arsenal defender is prepared to go against his manager’s wishes if he is selected.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alexis Sanchez over the weekend ]

The 22-year-old has said he hopes to play for Spain’s Under-21 side this summer during the 2017 European U-21 Championship but Wenger has been weary of Bellerin’s injury status and wants his fullback to maintain a clean bill of health throughout the offseason.

“I really want to play,” Bellerin told IBTimes. “Representing Spain is very important. If [Albert] Celades gives me the chance I’ll be there.

“Those are opinions of the managers. I have to keep working. The truth is that I had a difficult injury but I think that I am at 100% now and I’ll try to prove it when I get the chance.”

Bellerin signed a six-and-a-half year deal with the Gunners in November, where he has resided since coming up in the club’s academy. He has made 102 appearances for Wenger’s team in that span over all competitions.

Roma boosts bid for 2nd in Serie A by beating Pescara 4-1

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PESCARA, Italy (AP) Roma boosted its bid for second place in Serie A and automatic entry into the Champions League with a 4-1 win at Pescara, which was mathematically relegated on Monday.

[ MORE: Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League ]

Roma moved four points clear of third-placed Napoli, which drew against Sassuolo 2-2 on Sunday. Third place in Serie A receives a Champions League playoff.

Pescara remained 15 points behind Empoli. There are only five matches left and Empoli has the better head-to-head record, which is the deciding factor if two teams finish level on points.

There were 48 goals in total in the 33rd round, matching the record set in October 1992.

Roma took control shortly before halftime, with Kevin Strootman breaking the deadlock after Stephan El Shaarawy unselfishly rolled the ball across the area.

Radja Nainggolan, who earlier hit the bar, doubled Roma’s lead two minutes later.

Mohamed Salah extended Roma’s advantage three minutes after the break and the winger doubled his tally on the hour following a swift counterattack.

Ahmad Benali got a consolation for Pescara and a Cristiano Biraghi free kick also hit the post for the home side.

Frank Yallop resigns as Phoenix Rising coach shortly after Drogba arrival

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The timing is a bit sudden and certainly leaves many questions up in the air, but Phoenix Rising will have to look for a new manager.

[ MORE: Chicharito talks heating up with LA FC ]

On Monday, head coach Frank Yallop resigned from his position with the United Soccer League (USL) club less than one day after former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba joined the organization as a player-owner.

With Phoenix seen as one of several lower-level clubs with ambitions of making the leap to MLS over the coming seasons, Yallop’s departure is surely a shock to many.

According to ESPN FC, Rising lead owner Berke Bakay was quite surprised by Yallop’s decision to step down, as was Drogba.

“Didier was as surprised and disappointed as we were that Frank is unable to continue coaching our Club,” Bakay told ESPN FC. “But, we all respect his decision to put his family first.

“Didier’s focus will remain on improving our team as a player and assisting our MLS expansion team ownership group as a co-owner. Frank will be helping with our international search for a new head coach.”

Rick Schantz, the current Rising assistant coach, will head the team’s managerial duties for the interim while the club completes a full search for a new manager.