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Americans Abroad Preview: Howard faces Chelsea, many Yanks on the road

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While many US Soccer fans are doubtlessly more excited about the Americans going abroad for a match against the Czech Republic on Sept. 3, there are still plenty of tests of the Yanks with their club teams this weekend.

Everton’s Tim Howard hopes to stop a string of multi-goals allowed matches, but that streak will have to stop against high-powered Chelsea (which could be without Diego Costa and Fernando Torres).

Fellow American backstop Brad Guzan will try to make it three clean sheets in-a-row when his Aston Villa side hosts intriguing Hull on Sunday, while Jozy Altidore and Sunderland are off to Loftus Road to face struggling Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.

Geoff Cameron was dinged up in Stoke’s midweek League Cup clash, and he wasn’t featuring for the Potters in the Premier League as his future gets sorted out. Cameron did get to play his preferred central defensive midfield position against Portsmouth, but is unlikely to play at Manchester City on Saturday.

[ RELATED: Who is Jordan Morris?? | Quick look at the new boys on USMNT roster ]

All the Yanks in the Championship will conduct business on Saturday, starting with Eric Lichaj and table-topping Nottingham Forest. They head to Sheffield Wednesday to kick-off the weekend, while recently called-up whiz kid Emerson Hyndman looks to help Fulham wake up with a visit from Cardiff.

Bolton’s Tim Ream will likely start in a visit to Leeds, while Duane Holmes and Huddersfield Town are off to Watford. Birmingham City’s Will Packwood and Jonathan Spector will play at Wigan Athletic.

To the Bundesliga! John Anthony Brooks will hope to be in the lineup when Hertha Berlin tries to upset Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, while Timmy Chandler and Eintracht Frankfurt will head to Wolfsburg for a tough test of their own. Meanwhile, Fabian Johnson will look to provide wing-side heroics for Borussia Monchengladbach when the club visits SC Freiburg.

Nantes will look to get back into the win column after a loss to Monaco, and American midfielder Ale Bedoya is hoping to do work when the Canaries host Montpellier on Saturday.

Sacha Kljestan and Anderlecht have a massive tilt against Club Brugge on Sunday, while — over in the Netherlands — Rubio Rubin and FC Utrecht have a match with Heerenveen on Saturday.

Bob Bradley’s Stabaek will hope to put pressure on the seven teams ahead of them with a home win against last-place Sandnes Ulf, and Mix Diskerud’s Rosenborg side will hope to finish the weekend in a European place by beating challenger Viking FK on the road.

Ranking the Copa America Centenario contenders

Copa America trophy — 2015 Copa America
AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo
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Sixteen teams enter next month’s Copa America Centenario tournament, and only one emerges as the champion of North, South and Central America.

Will it be Chile who continues its reign? Will Argentina, Brazil or Uruguay find revenge? Can a CONCACAF side thrive with the tourney in the United States?

[ PREVIEWS: Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D ]

There a varying degrees of likelihood that a country rises above the field to win this year’s competition. In this post, we’ll rank the sides from 16 to 1, unlikeliest to likeliest.

16. Haiti — Happy to be there? Circling the Peru match on its calendar.

15. Venezuela — If Salomon Rondon can make things happen, who knows?

14. Bolivia — Lots of work to be done here.

13. Jamaica — Winfried Schaefer’s team has struggled since its strong Gold Cup.

12. Peru — Inexperience will be a problem.

11. Paraguay — Wins have been hard to come by for Los Guaraníes.

10. Panama — Are they primed for a run, or too old to outlast its group opponents?

9. Ecuador — Dangerous but inconsistent, La Tricolor has an easier group from which to advance than most.

8. Costa Rica — If the USMNT falters under the pressure of hosts, Los Ticos will be most likely to benefit in Group A.

[ USMNT-ECUADOR: Match recap | Player ratings | 3 things ]

7. United States — Hosting is a big deal, and Jurgen Klinsmann seems ready to take a more orthodox approach to his lineups. The Yanks will run more than a few teams ragged, depending on how the chips fall.

6. Uruguay — Navigating the absence of Luis Suarez, which could last the group stage or longer, knocks them down a peg.

(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

5. Mexico — It’s another golden generation for El Tri, and it’s not far-fetched to imagine Mexico makes a run at everything.

4. Colombia — James Rodriguez goes back to being the focal point of an attack, and will remind us just how good he is while under the spotlight.

3. Chile — Repeating is hard, and Chile had a lot of home cooking good fortune in its hosted run to a first title.

2. Brazil — No the side won’t be fully loaded, but Dunga has shown he knows how to run a side with or without Neymar.

  1. Argentina — This could be Lionel Messi’s year to lift hardware for club and country.

Ferdinand lauds Mourinho hiring: “This winner is now a wounded animal”

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Rio Ferdinand isn’t waiting for Manchester United to make it official, lauding the hiring of Jose Mourinho as his former club’s latest manager.

Ferdinand said Mourinho’s personality is “made for this great club”, as the longtime Red Devils defender took to Facebook to hail the Special One.

[ MORE: Five things United must do under Mourinho ]

Ferdinand, 37, made 455 appearances for United in a 19-year career that included stops at West Ham, QPR, Bournemouth and Leeds.

He says Mourinho will be a motivated and dangerous boss when he takes control in place of fired manager Louis Van Gaal.

“After his recent unsuccessful time at Chelsea in the final year, I can assure you this winner is now a wounded animal which makes him such a mouthwatering appointment. Jose went from winning the League Cup & Premier League to a season of disappointment at Chelsea and I am certain he will want to restore all of that very quickly.”

LISTEN: Copa America drops official song “Superstar” (Pitbull warning)

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Pitbull has joined forces with Becky G to make the official song of the Copa America Centenario, “Superstar”, which they will perform before the final.

I know Pitbull for liking light beer, and Becky G for going on dates with Sebastian Lletget of the L.A. Galaxy.

[ PREVIEWS: Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D ]

This, in all its pop glory, has a catchy-enough hook and a stadium-like chant that hopes to catch on like “Seven Nation Army”. The kids should dig it.

That’s all I got. Enjoy the jammage.

Report: Mourinho signs deal with Manchester United

Chelsea's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho gestures during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on October 26, 2014.  AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS 

RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or live services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.        (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
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Noon ET.

That’s the time Sky Sports claims that Jose Mourinho put pen to paper on a deal that makes him the latest manager of Manchester United.

[ MORE: Five things United must do under Mourinho ]

The report says Mourinho returned home with a bottle of red wine after signing the deal at a London hotel.

From Sky Sports:

Mourinho symbolically wore a black and red tie for the final stage of negotiations, and the deal is completed on the 12th anniversary of his winning the Champions League for the first time with Porto.

Now, we wait. As a publicly-traded company, there are certain constraints United faces in making announcements that other clubs don’t have to entertain.