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At halftime: All even in a thriller between Brazil and Chile — FOLLOW LIVE

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Even before the match started, we knew this was going to be a special one, as both teams – and sets of fans – absolutely belted out their respective anthems, filling the Estádio Mineirão in Belo Horizonte with plenty of noise. Add to that two teams bent on attack, and with marked weaknesses in defense, and it’s no wonder the first 45 minutes flew by.

FOLLOW LIVE: Soccerly’s real-time match center

Goals

18′: It looked as though own goal struck once more, knocking in his fourth goal of the competition. It seemed Gonzalo Jara put Brazil in front in a manner that very well could have been predicted. Neymar sent in the corner, Thiago Silva got his head on it, and David Luiz celebrated like he put it in the net. Replays seemed to show the ball came off the Chile defender, but FIFA credited it to David Luiz.

32′: Chile tie it up! A short set of passes stemming from a failed throw-in by Brazil confounds the defenders, eventually resulting in a loose ball landing at the feet of Alexis Sánchez, waiting in the middle. His low shot is too quick for Júlio César, who cant get down enough to stop it from finding the back of the net.

Other key moments

6′: Marcelo has the first shot of the game, and unlike against Croatia, it’s toward Claudio Bravo’s net. It’s wide, though.

7′: Neymar gets treated with the magic spray, perhaps in an attempt to slow down what’s already been an intense game.

8′: Bravo saves on Hulk.

13′: Hulk appeals for a penalty after receiving an elbow in his back, but Howard Webb just shakes his head.

17′: Eugenio Mena gets a yellow, will miss the next match should Chile progress.

18′: which it doesn’t look like they’re going to do. Goal for Brazil.

32′: Or might Chile go through? Alexis Sánchez puts in the equalizer. 1-1.

36′: Brazil come agonizingly close to taking the lead once more, but Neymar’s header is deflected off Chile defender Silva. The resulting corner results in chaos, but somehow Brazil can’t knock it in.

39′: Neymar gets into a dangerous position, ends up going to ground. Fred picks up the slack, only to send his effort well high. He’s rocking an amazing mustache, however.

40′: Francisco Silva receives a yellow, will miss the next match if Chile progress. And with the way he’s playing, that may actually be to Chile’s benefit.

42′: Arturo Vidal easily zips past the Brazilian defense, but his effort is wide. Brazil’s counter gives Dani Alves a perfect opportunity, but Bravo is able to dig it out from under the bar.

45′: Chile very nearly take a lead going into the break, but this time the Brazil defense are there, smothering Charles Aránguiz to knock out for a corner.

LINEUPS

Brazil: Júlio César, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo; Luiz Gustavo, Fernandinho, Oscar; Neymar, Hulk, Fred.

Chile: Bravo; Silva, Medel, Jara; Isla, Aranguiz, Diaz, Mena; Vidal; Sánchez, Vargas.

Question for the second half

Who will win?
Um…yeah. These ones actually need a winner. Of course, if the game is tied after 90 minutes, we’ll have 30 more minutes in which the deadlock could be broken. And with the way this match is being played, probably no one is going to root against that possibility Except, of course, supporters of Brazil or Chile. They’re the ones that are going to be terrified should this go to penalties.

With the way both defenses are performing, and the fierce attack of both sides, this really could go either way.

Report: USMNT forward Picault could be off to MLS

http://www.fcstpauli.com/profis/news/9628

FC St. Pauli
www.fcstpauli.com/profis/news/9628
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Remember Fafa Picault?

The FC St. Pauli striker became a surprise name in USMNT circles when former coach Jurgen Klinsmann shouted him out on Twitter, later calling him into U.S. camp.

Picault, 25, is a center forward who has battled back trouble at times this season, limiting him to six appearances for the 2.Bundesliga side.

[ MORE: Transfer window names to watch ]

He broke out last season, scoring four goals and adding two assists in 16 appearances last season. The former NASL player was capped by Klinsmann in May, going 19 minutes in a 3-1 win over Puerto Rico.

Philadelphia is the top spot for Picault, according to Bild and translated by VAVEL reporter Jonny Walsh. It’s just agent talk, but we’d like to get a closer look at the American man.

How might the USMNT lineup against Serbia?

U.S. men's national soccer team coach Bruce Arena, left, talks to captain Michael Bradley during a practice session Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, in Carson, Calif. Coach Arena opens camp with the team in the same training complex where he spent the past eight years running the LA Galaxy. Arena returned to the U.S. team in November to salvage its run for World Cup qualification. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
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It’s six days to Sunday, the first time we’ll see Bruce Arena manage the United States men’s national team since his rehiring late last year.

The Yanks host Serbia in San Diego before moving to Chattanooga for a match against Jamaica. Both matches should be open-and-shut wins, as the Americans’ MLS-only lineup get “B-teams” from Serbia and Jamaica.

[ MORE: Serbia, Jamaica rosters ]

Possible starting center back Matt Hedges and his FC Dallas teammate, Kellyn Acosta, will miss through injury, while Arena sent Kekuta Manneh to Wales for Vancouver Whitecaps camp.

That leaves 28 names — full roster at bottom — and the level of competition means Arena can take risks, like his choice to try Graham Zusi at right back.

Arena used several different formations with the Galaxy last season, opting for anything from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-1-1.

Here are some options against Serbia.

4-2-2-2

Arena could steady the middle of the pitch while using a pair of attack-minded veteran midfielders with points to prove.

Robles

Rosenberry — Birnbaum — Zimmerman — Beasley

Bradley — McCarty

Feilhaber —————————Kljestan

Morris — Altidore


4-4-2 (diamond) — Veteran heavy

Arena likes his veterans, and may want to give them the benefit of the doubt in front of fans and the eyes of U.S. Soccer.

Rimando

Zusi — Marshall — Evans — Beasley

Bedoya — Bradley — Jones — Kljestan

Altidore — Zardes


4-3-3

Bingham

Rosenberry — Birnbaum — Zimmerman — Garza

Bradley

Nagbe — Bedoya

Zardes — Altidore — Morris


Full roster

Goalkeepers: David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls), Brian Rowe (LA Galaxy)

Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley (Unattached), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Greg Garza (Atlanta United FC), Taylor Kemp (D.C. United), Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC), Keegan Rosenberry (Philadelphia Union), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Midfielders: Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Jermaine Jones (Unattached), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Chris Pontius (Philadelphia Union), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC)

Forwards: Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

Reports: Krul, Lopez could replace Begovic at Chelsea

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 22: Tim Krul of Newcastle United in aciton during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Old Trafford on August 22, 2015 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
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It may seem unimportant at first blush, but Chelsea’s backup goalkeeper situation may be in a state of flux right now.

That means the Blues’ very strong title hopes are only a Thibaut Courtois injury away from making it matter a whole bunch more.

Eddie Howe wants Chelsea No. 2 Asmir Begovic to head down south to join Bournemouth,  and the keeper seems interested in a move.

[ MORE: Big changes for CONCACAF Champions League ]

Chelsea’s current No. 3 is Portuguese national teamer Eduardo. The Blues could wait to sell Begovic until summer, but The Express thinks the move is on.

AC Milan backup backstop Diego Lopez is in the frame for Chelsea, according to that report, but a more intriguing name is Newcastle ‘keep Tim Krul. The Dutchman is on loan with Ajax.

Either would be a fitting replacement for Begovic. Will Conte allow the change in the middle of a relatively-stable (Diego Costa aside) title run?

CONCACAF Champions League gets reboot; MLS benefits

Seattle Sounders forward Clint Dempsey, right, clears the ball away from Club America midfielder Rubens Sambueza (14) during the first half of a CONCACAF Champions League soccer quarterfinal, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
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Changes to the CONCACAF Champions League will benefit Major League Soccer in a big way.

Long requested by MLS, the North American league will only have to send its clubs to the CCL for the final four rounds, which will be home-and-away affairs.

Previously, clubs competed in a group stage from August to October, then joined the knockout rounds in February.

[ MORE: Transfer window names to watch ]

While MLS sides may still be just starting their seasons and have to contend with clubs who have been playing meaningful games, they will also be less likely to draw successful Liga MX sides in the Round of 16.

All of the details are here, but here’s a simplified takeaway:

— The 16 teams that qualify for the CCL, which will begin in February, will include four U.S. teams, one Canadian team, and four Mexican teams.

— The next six sides will be the Caribbean Club Championship winner and the champions of Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Panama.

— The remaining side will win its spot via a new tournament which includes 13 Central American teams and three from the Caribbean.

For those of us hoping to see an MLS side in the Club World Cup, the odds will become better come the 2018 CCL. As for this year, MLS will again have to deal with the split season.