July 4th soccer extravaganza: Back-to-back MLS games live on NBCSN

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Happy July 4th everyone.

If watching back-to-back World Cup quarterfinals isn’t enough soccer for your Independence Day celebrations, don’t worry, there are two more matches coming your way on NBCSN.

On Friday we will air a double-header from Major League Soccer as first the Houston Dynamo host New York Red Bulls at 8:30 p.m. ET and then Portland travel to the LA Galaxy at 11 p.m. ET.

WATCH LIVE: Houston vs. New York | LA vs. Portland

You can watch both games live on NBCSN, or alternatively you go watch them online via NBC Sports Live Extra by clicking here.

Here’s a quick look at both games and what to expect from them.

Houston Dynamo vs. New York Red Bulls, 8:30 p.m. ET, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston

Coming into this game Houston have lost five on the spin, a club record, as Dom Kinnear’s men have struggled and have gone almost seven hours without a goal. New York haven’t fared much better this season, as they have five wins to Houston’s four. However, Mike Petke’s men did beat the Dynamo 4-0 this season at Red Bull Arena and will look to follow up their 2-2 draw on the road vs. Toronto with a win. Both teams need the three points. Big time.

LA Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers, 11 p.m. ET, StubHub Center, Carson, Calif.

This one is a monster clash between giants of the Western Conference. LA are in good form and are unbeaten in five following their 1-0 win over San Jose last time out. Despite that good run, Bruce Arena’s boys are still hovering just outside the playoff spot and are tied on points with the Timbers. Portland lost 1-0 to Sporting KC last week, although they did defeat SKC in the Open Cup just three days before that. Looking up at the Seattle Sounders, both LA and Portland will be hoping to kick on towards the playoff spots with a win on Independence Day. Landon Donovan will be looking to bang in a few goals for LA, as his opinions on the U.S. national team continue to be sought after off the pitch.

Pep sticking with Bravo for final: “Locker room more important”

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Petr Cech and Ederson will watch from the bench as their clubs start the League Cup Final on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola announced that Manchester City will turn to Claudio Bravo between the sticks against Arsenal, which has already appointed David Ospina as its backstop for the final.

[ MORE: Europa League draw ]

And if you think Pep, having seen his side lose to Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup, should go back to Ederson for the final, he gets it.

“You can have an opinion, I am the manager. We are here for Claudio. He saved two lots of penalties. He deserves to play in the final. The locker room is more important than the final.”

The points aren’t completely independent, of course, but at this point the final is pretty darn important as Man City could see its trophy potential drop from 4-2 in little more than a week’s time.

Bravo has played just 45 minutes in the Premier League, against Liverpool in relief of Ederson, but has been the man for each of eight League and FA Cup matches.

City has just one clean sheet in that group, but won the seven matches apart from the 1-0 Wigan defeat. Two of those, against Wolves and Leicester, came in penalty kicks.

Arsenal gets AC Milan in Europa League Round of 16

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Arsenal’s path to the UEFA Champions League just got a whole lot tougher.

[ MORE: Arsenal loses 2nd leg, advances ]

Already eight points back of the Premier League’s Top Four, the Gunners have drawn Gennaro Gattuso’s AC Milan in the UEFA Europa League’s Round of 16.

The first leg is March 8 at the San Siro before moving to the Emirates a week later.

Milan is currently 7th in Serie A despite its big-spending summer, and faces a similar problem to the Gunners; Gattuso’s men need to make up eight points on Lazio and seven on fifth-place Inter Milan.

Elsewhere, Moscovian sides CSKA and Lokomotiv got no favors with trips to Lyon and Atletico Madrid, respectively.

Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund will be pleased to see Red Bull Salzburg, while the latter’s sister club, RB Leipzig, was held apart from it by a draw with Zenit Saint-Petersbug.

Here’s the draw in full.

UEFA Europa League Round of 16
Lazio vs. Dynamo Kiev
RB Leipzig vs. Zenit St Petersburg
Atletico Madrid vs. Lokomotiv Moscow
CSKA Moscow vs. Lyon
Marseille vs. Athletic Bilbao
Sporting Lisbon vs. Viktoria Plzen
Borussia Dortmund vs. Red Bull Salzburg
AC Milan vs. Arsenal

CCL: Lodeiro from 45; Royer’s diving header — SEA, RBNY lead (video)

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After 45 minutes of their respective CONCACAF Champions League knockout-round quests, things are going unnervingly well for the Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: FC Dallas disappoint in CCL; Club America flying ]

If you’ve watched Major League Soccer teams try, try and try again — only to eventually fail in spectacular fashion — in CCL over the years, you might say things are going a little too well.

There’s still another 45 minutes to be played on Thursday — plus the return legs next week — but both the Sounders and Red Bulls hold 1-0 halftime leads, and the vitally important away goals which come with it. Nicolas Lodeiro’s 45-yard, first-time lob of the Santa Tecla (El Salvador) goalkeeper in the 15th minute has already been eternally etched into the memories of Sounders fans.

Just 15 minutes later, Daniel Royer perfectly executed the diving header and got on the end of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ curling ball into the box to Jesse Marsch’s side ahead of Honduran side CD Olimpia.

Villarreal DF Semedo charged with attempted murder

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MADRID (AP) A Spanish judge has charged Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo with attempted murder and ordered him to be temporarily detained without bail.

Court officials in Lliria say on Thursday the Portuguese player is also charged with assault, robbery, illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms.

Semedo testified before a judge on Thursday, and left the court in handcuffs.

The 23-year-old Semedo was detained early Tuesday, accused of tying up, assaulting and threatening another man last week. Authorities say he and two other men allegedly held the victim captive while they robbed his apartment.

Semedo’s agents told Spanish media the player denies any wrongdoing.

Villarreal on Tuesday said it was investigating Semedo and would take appropriate disciplinary action.

Villarreal signed Semedo from Sporting Lisbon last summer for a reported fee of $17 million.