Dom Dwyer says it would be an “absolute honor” to play for the USMNT

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In an interview with Brian Sciaretta of American Soccer Now, Dom Dwyer said he is more than hoping to be a part of the USMNT future up front.

The Sporting Kansas City striker, originally from Sussex, England, has played in the United States since he was 18 years old, earning a scholarship at the University of South Florida.

With KC CEO Robb Heineman (somewhat unbeknownst to Dwyer) tweeting out that his striker’s application for US citizenship is set to go through in February of 2017, the speculation is there for Dwyer not only to be a part of the 2018 World Cup discussion, but also for the hexagonal round of qualifying.

And he’s excited about it. “Even Zusi and Besler were saying to me how great it would be and how much I would love it,” Dwyer told Sciaretta. “I think the U.S. has a fantastic thing going on. If I was ever to be called up, it would be an absolute honor.”

The 24-year-old said he’s already well acquainted with the players and coach. “I’m a big fan of Jurgen Klinsmann and a big fan of the guys on the team.”

Dwyer took a very unconventional route to his professional contract.  He was part of the Norwich City youth academy as a young boy, but after breaking his foot three times in England, he got the opportunity to come to the United States.  Dwyer says he probably wasn’t even close to the England youth system’s radar, but his switch to the United States was a tough one as the league here was still struggling to gain respect.

[ MORE: Looks like the Dom Dwyer for the USMNT push is on ]

However, after spending two years at a junior college before his stellar year at USF – where he led the Big East with 16 goals – he was drafted 16th overall by KC in the MLS draft, and after the goals came flying in while on loan to Orlando City, he earned a call-up back to his home squad, and he has 12 goals in 16 matches this year.

He’ll be 26 by the time his citizenship goes through, and could be heavily involved in the USMNT discussion. Jozy Altidore is the same age, while Clint Dempsey will be a month away from his 34th birthday.  When Altidore went down in the World Cup with his hamstring injury, it was alarmingly clear how thin the United States is at the striker position.

With the possibility of Dwyer entering the US fold, it could get a lot thicker, but 2017 is still a long, long way away.

Independiente and Flamengo meet for South American trophy

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SAO PAULO (AP) Independiente, relegated for the first time in its history in 2013, can complete a remarkable turnaround by winning the Copa Sudamericana at the Maracana Stadium on Wednesday.

[ MORE: LA FC selects Urena, four others in MLS Expansion Draft ]

The Argentine team will go into the second leg of the final holding a 2-1 lead over Brazilian club Flamengo from the first leg.

Independiente, which has won multiple titles in South American tournaments, will be counting on 18-year-old midfielder Ezequiel Barco, one of the best players in this year’s competition.

Flamengo is also seeking to restore some pride in Rio de Janeiro. The big-spending Brazilian club, playing in its first Copa Sudamericana final, finished its domestic championship in a disappointing sixth place.

The Rio team will be without Peru striker Paolo Guerrero, who is serving a one-year doping ban.

Instead, veteran midfielder Diego will be the key player as Flamengo looks to claim its first regional title since winning the now-defunct Copa Mercosur in 1999.

After Independiente won the first leg, the club posted on its social media channels a picture of its players celebrating at the Maracana in 1995 when the two teams played for the Supercopa.

If the Argentines lose 1-0 on Wednesday, there will be a penalty shootout to decide the winner.

Last year, Brazilian club Chapecoense was awarded the title before the final after 19 players, plus club directors and several members of staff, died in an air crash.

The Copa Sudamericana is the continent’s second most prestigious tournament after the Copa Libertadores.

Bundesliga wrap: Dortmund wins in Stoger’s managerial debut

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For the first time since late September, Borussia Dortmund has won a league match, while Leipzig’s slip up opens the door for Bayern Munich to extend its lead in Germany’s top flight.

[ MORE: Chelsea tops Huddersfield, level on points with Man United ]

Here’s a brief look at all of Tuesday’s Bundesliga action.

Mainz 0-2 Borussia Dortmund

10 points separates Dortmund from league leaders Bayern Munich, who also have a match in hand, but for the moment, the bleeding his stopped. BVB picked up a crucial win on Tuesday to end its domestic woes upon manager Peter Stoger’s debut. The side’s drought stretched over an eight-match winless period. Second-half goals from Sokratis and Shinji Kagawa moved Dortmund into the top four, while Mainz remains 15th in the league table.

 

Wolfsburg 1-1 Red Bull Leipzig

Meanwhile, RB Leipzig’s form continues to slide downward after the second-place side dropped points in its fourth straight match across all competitions. The road side’s fortunes were dampened early on when Paul Verhaegh converted from the penalty spot, however, Marcel Halstenberg did manage to pull a goal back for Leipzig in the 52nd minute. Leipzig’s misfortunes carried on in stoppage time though when Dayot Upamecano was sent off after picking up his second yellow card of the day.


The rest of Tuesday’s scores

Hamburg 1-2 Frankfurt
Freiburg 1-0 Borussia Monchengladbach

Inter beats 3rd-division Pordenone 5-4 on penalties in Cup

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MILAN (AP) Inter Milan scraped into the Italian Cup quarterfinals after the Serie A leader was taken to penalties by third-division Pordenone on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Chelsea tops Huddersfield, moves level on points with Man United ]

Pordenone goalkeeper Simone Perilli pulled off several saves in regulation time to keep the game scoreless, and he almost proved to be the hero during the shootout, stopping two penalties.

But Inter prevailed 5-4, with Yuto Nagatomo tucking away the final spot kick.

Both sides hit the woodwork during the 120 minutes.

Inter coach Luciano Spalletti rang the changes, and only Milan Skriniar and Matias Vecino remained in the starting 11 from Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Juventus.

[ MORE: Burnley moves into top four after win over Stoke ]

However, he was forced by desperation to bring on Marcelo Brozovic at halftime as well as star forwards Ivan Perisic and Mauro Icardi.

Report: Cosmos coach Savarese to be named new Timbers manager

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In a time where NASL’s status moving forward is hanging in the balance, one of the league’s top managers is set to make the jump to Major League Soccer.

[ MORE: LA FC close to acquiring Red Bulls captain Sacha Kljestan ]

According to ESPN soccer analyst Taylor Twellman, New York Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese is set to be named the next Portland Timbers manager.

Savarese will take over for the recently departed Caleb Porter, who stepped down from his head coaching role with the Timbers in November.

The former professional player spent five seasons in MLS during his career, including stints with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars (now the Red Bulls), as well as the New England Revolution and the San Jose Earthquakes.

The 46-year-old has managed the Cosmos from 2013 to present, and guided the NASL side to three Soccer Bowl titles in that span.