MLS release All-Star Fan XI, US national team dominates

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On Wednesday Major League Soccer announced the eleven players selected by fans to compete in the 2014 MLS All-Star Game in August.

Collecting votes from fans over Twitter and on MLSsoccer.com, after a ballot of 152 players nominated by media members was released, the league confirmed the eleven All-Stars who will face off against Bayern Munich in Portland on August 6.

There was a heavy U.S. national team presence as eight of the eleven players are members of Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad. Nick Rimando, DeAndre Yedlin, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Kyle Beckerman and Graham Zusi all played for the U.S. at the World Cup this summer in Brazil.

Players who were deemed unlucky to miss out on the vote were MLS’ top scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips, while Steven Beitashour, Júlio César, Tim Cahill, Aurelien Collin and Jermain Defoe just missed out on the fan vote.

Despite these eleven players being selected by the fans, they are not guaranteed to be in the starting lineup as Don Garber’s two All-Star picks, and players that received at least two votes from their fellow players, all based on player availability and tactical considerations. Timbers head coach Caleb Porter will name the rest of his All-Star game-day roster on July 19 during halftime of the Sporting Kansas City-LA Galaxy game.

From there, MLS players will determine the remainder of the 32 All-Stars named annually per the collective bargaining agreement, otherwise known as the “inactive roster.” The final list of 32 All-Stars (4 goalkeepers, 8 defenders, 13 midfielders, 7 forwards) will be announced on MLSsoccer.com on Aug. 6.

MLS All-Star Fan XI

Goalkeeper: Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

Defenders: DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City)

Midfielders: Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Forwards: Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders)

AT THE HALF: Manchester derby scoreless after 45 minutes

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After 45 minutes, the final Manchester derby of the 2016-17 Premier League season — the one that’ll go a long, long way toward deciding which of the city’s sides will finish in the top-four — is scoreless, but not without incident.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

The game’s best chances thus far fell Manchester City’s way, as Sergio Aguero missed a clear-cut chance after 10 minutes — Kevin De Bruyne whipped in the perfect ball to the back post, and Aguero put it wrong side of David De Gea‘s post.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Ander Herrera has, once again, be Manchester United’s danger man, combining well with Marcus Rashford and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but Claudio Bravo made the one save he was forced into during the first half. One thing to keep an eye on during the final 45 minutes: Rashford picked up a knock very early on, and struggled to move around the field after that.

STREAM LIVE: The Manchester Derby

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The third Manchester Derby of the season is the first away from Old Trafford, as Manchester United visits Manchester City (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday.

There’s much on the line, as the sides sit just two points apart in the race for the Top Four. Man City would leapfrog third-place Liverpool with a win, while United could join the Reds on 66 points with a match-in-hand.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

Sergio Aguero starts for Man City, with Gabriel Jesus on the bench.

On the other side, it’ll be a physical middle-third guarded by Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick, and Marouane Fellaini. Wayne Rooney and Jesse Lingard start on the bench.

LINEUPS

Manchester City: Bravo, Zabaleta, Kompany (C), Otamendi, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Sterling, De Bruyne, Sane, Aguero. Subs: Caballero, Sagna, Fernando, Navas, Clichy, Gabriel Jesus, A. Garcia

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Darmian; Herrera, Carrick, Fellaini, Mkhitaryan; Rashford, Martial. Subs: Romero, Shaw, Fosu-Mensah, Tuanzebe, Young, Lingard, Rooney.

Ex-Liverpool CEO shares biting story of Suarez transfer

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Ian Ayre’s got jokes.

The former Liverpool CEO lifted the lid on some transfer stories during a Merseyside lecture this week.

Of note, Ayre admitted that the club thought Dele Alli demanded too much given what he had produced when the Reds has the chance to sign him as a 16-year-old, and said that Liverpool could’ve landed Alexis Sanchez but the player wanted to live in London (“We couldn’t move the football club to London, unfortunately,” he quipped).

The best part relayed by Sky Sports had to do with Luis Suarez, and shows the relentless nature of the transfer market. Clearly Barcelona had interest in Suarez before the fiery striker bit Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, because, well…

“I remember the sporting director of Barcelona calling me during that game, immediately as Suarez bit the player, and he said to me ‘my friend, he’s bitten somebody, how can this be the price?’ I said ‘he’d already bitten somebody when you first bid!'”

We’re sure there’s a certain amount of storytelling in there, but undoubtedly some truth.

Given Barca paid a reported $84 million for the striker, the asking price couldn’t have started that much higher.

Men in Blazers podcast: Chelsea tops Spurs, Top Four predictions

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Rog and Davo return to discuss Chelsea’s FA Cup semifinal victory over Spurs, update their Top Four predictions (again), and dive into the depths of the relegation zone. Plus, the very important movement to change “Hudson Street” to “Ray Hudson Street.”

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