Strong USMNT presence in MLS signals the league’s future structure

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We have seen many U.S. men’s national team head down the MLS path in the past few years. Clint Dempsey leaving Tottenham for Seattle Sounders FC in 2013 was obviously one of the more notable additions to MLS, and this year, Michael Bradley exiting AS Roma to star on Toronto FC was another big move. In 2014, DeMarcus Beasley left the Liga MX in Mexico and came across the border to feature on the Houston Dynamo.

It’s not only USMNT footballers coming to the MLS from elsewhere that marks the strong presence of national team players in the league.

By utilizing Designated Player status, certain squads have locked up stays of talented players who have already played in MLS for years. Graham Zusi and Matt Besler, both signed with Sporting Kansas City this season as Designated Players, instead of entertaining the possibility of performing in Europe. Defender Omar Gonzalez and former Chris Wondolowski both inked DP contracts a year ago.

And several of these players, despite the fact that none are budding teenagers ready to take soccer by storm, made an impact for the United States in the World Cup.

Zusi showed spark now and then. Dempsey was the best attacker on the field for the United States, notching two important goals against Ghana and Portugal. Besler and Gonzalez were often noticed holding the defense together by a thread. Nevertheless, they, with an ample amount of help from Tim Howard vs. Belgium, managed to keep other teams at bay.

Overall, the MLS has a decently impressive group of U.S. talent, primarily based on their showings at the World Cup, and with the addition of Jermaine Jones to the New England Revolution, that congregation has expanded further.

Getting men’s national teams player from abroad is definitely the first step, but twenty years down the road, the goal will revolve around having a larger core of USMNT players, and more proficient men at that.

Through the utilization of youth academies, which have sprung up at every team across the league, the progression of soccer in America is hoped to emerge on the national scene from these outlets—many MLS players, able to draw the interest of teams in Europe, forming the makeup MLS on regular, non-DP contracts.

That’s the dream, and for now, it’s just about building U.S. momentum.

LIVE, AT THE HALF: Rampant Arsenal lead Chelsea in FA Cup final

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Arsenal lead Chelsea 1-0 at half time of the 2016-17 FA Cup final, but they should be so much further ahead.

[ LIVE: Follow the FA Cup final here ]

Alexis Sanchez put Arsenal ahead in controversial fashion as Aaron Ramsey was clearly in an offside position and flagged for offside, but referee Anthony Taylor overruled his linesman to allow the goal to stand.

Ramsey didn’t touch the ball but was remarkably close to it when Sanchez raced through to score.

Mesut Ozil, Danny Welbeck and Ramsey had further chances to score with Gary Cahill twice clearing off the line, while Chelsea had two chances through Diego Costa but he couldn’t convert.

Click on the link above to follow all the action from Wembley live.

What a first 45 minutes!

VIDEO: Moving tribute to Manchester bombing victims at FA Cup final

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At the FA Cup final on Saturday at Wembley there was a moving tribute to the people killed in the Manchester bombing attack earlier this week.

On Monday a suicide bomber killed 22 people and injured a further 67 after detonating a bomb outside Manchester Arena following an Ariana Grande concert.

Ahead of the FA Cup final, Arsenal and Chelsea came together to salute everyone impacted by the atrocity.

Watch the moving video below as 90,000 stood in silence to show their solidarity.


WATCH: Sanchez scores hugely controversial goal in FA Cup final

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Alexis Sanchez’s goal put Arsenal 1-0 up early on in the FA Cup final against Chelsea in hugely controversial fashion.

[ LIVE: Follow the FA Cup final here

Initially the goal was called out for offside on Aaron Ramsey who didn’t touch the ball but was mightily close to the action, but referee Anthony Taylor overruled his linesman and gave the goal.

There was also a hint of a handball on Sanchez’s part as the ball ricocheted off him in a tackle.

Watch the video below as Chelsea were left fuming but Arsenal didn’t care…

Day Eight: All the action from the U20 World Cup

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The U-20 World Cup in South Korea continues to provide plenty of drama.

[ MORE: U-20 World Cup latest

In Group C already-qualified Portugal fought back from 1-0 down against Iran to win 2-1 and sealed their spot in the last 16, while Costa Rica join both Portugal and Zambia in the knockout rounds after they beat Zambia 1-0.

Italy led Japan 2-0 in Group D but Japan fought back to make it 2-2 as they made it through to the last 16 alongside Italy and Uruguay. Elsewhere in Group D Uruguay and South Africa played out a 0-0 draw with Uruguay already through to the knockout rounds (they have yet to concede a goal) and South Africa heading home.

The final set of group games take place on Sunday with Groups E and F coming to a close, including the U.S. facing Saudi Arabia as Tab Ramos’ men aim to seal a spot in the last 16.

Three of the eight last 16 matches have now been confirmed with England facing Costa Rica, Venezuela taking on Japan and hosts South Korea will play Portugal.

Click on the link above for all the latest news from the U-20 World Cup, while below are video highlights from Saturday’s four games in Groups C and D.


Group C – Portugal 2-1 Iran

Group C – Costa Rica 1-0 Zambia

Group D – Japan 2-2 Italy

Group D – Uruguay 0-0 South Africa