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EFL Cup Tuesday: Hull City, Liverpool look to fend off Championship challengers

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Eight teams of varying likelihood are dreaming of the three wins that could clinch them a spot in European competition next season.

With a pair of EFL Cup quarterfinals set for Tuesday and two more scheduled Wednesday, we’ll have our semifinalist by the end of the week.

[ MORE: Court says Pulis owes Palace ]

Four Premier League mainstays go Wednesday, leaving a trio of underdogs and Liverpool squaring off on Tuesday.

Hull City vs. Newcastle United — 2:45 p.m. EDT

The Tigers are facing a relegation scrap in the Premier League, a battle that claimed Newcastle one year ago.

Things have changed.

Hull saw Steve Bruce quit in August, after the Tigers spent the summer with a serious lack of player depth. A strong start to the PL season fell victim to a poor run of form, and the Tigers are in the drop zone with 11 points.

Meanwhile, Newcastle’s Saturday loss to Blackburn was its first in 10 matches. Rafa Benitez‘s Magpies lead the Championship, two points ahead of Brighton and six points clear of the playoff spots.

Ex-Palace striker Dwight Gayle is leading the league in scoring, and only played a handful of minutes at the weekend. USMNT right back DeAndre Yedlin has settled into the Magpies’ set-up well, and has played all 180 minutes of the previous EFL Cup wins.

Benitez was accused of fielding a weakened side on Saturday in anticipation of this contest, though he’s bristled at that criticism. The Magpies are chasing a long-needed trophy, regardless of their promotion chase. Look for fireworks on Tuesday.

Liverpool vs. Leeds United — 2:45 p.m. EDT

Once a clash of the titans, it will take a monumental upset for Leeds manager Garry Monk to lift his Whites into the semis.

Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho, and Adam Lallana are out for the Reds, and Roberto Firmino seems unlikely to feature as well. That said, Liverpool has a wealth of attacking options in Sadio Mane, Georginio Wijnaldum, Divock Origi, and Marko Grujic amongst others.

New Zealand star Chris Wood leeds Leads in goals with nine, and will be a handful for the Reds backline. Swansea fans will recognize loanees Kyle Bartley and Matt Grimes.

Wednesday
Arsenal vs. Southampton
Manchester United vs. West Ham United

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France veteran Malouda loses appeal in Gold Cup case

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) Former France winger Florent Malouda has lost his appeal against being ruled ineligible to play for French Guiana at the 2017 Gold Cup.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport says its judges dismissed Malouda’s appeal against North American soccer body CONCACAF.

French Guiana fielded Malouda in a 0-0 draw against Honduras last July despite being told he was not eligible. CONCACAF awarded a 3-0 win to Honduras and suspended Malouda.

The Gold Cup uses FIFA eligibility rules which bar players from transferring allegiance after playing a competitive game for one country.

Malouda played 80 times for France including a 2006 World Cup final loss against Italy.

The French Guiana soccer federation hoped Malouda, now aged 37, could play in the Gold Cup because it is not a FIFA member.

Report: Bobby Wood unlikely to come to MLS this summer

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A U.S. Men’s National Team forward will probably have to wait a bit longer to come to Major League Soccer if that is the path that he chooses.

Reports have recently surfaced linking Bobby Wood to MLS at the conclusion of the Bundesliga season, however, MLSSoccer.com is reporting that a move for the American likely won’t come in 2018.

Wood, who remains under contract for three more seasons at Hamburg, is currently fighting relegation in Germany with his club side.

Hamburg currently sits 17th in the German top flight, eight points buried in the relegation zone with four matches remaining.

The MLSSoccer.com report suggests that MLS clubs aren’t willing to compensate Wood at the current rate of his contract in Germany.

Currently, Wood is making “several million dollars” per season, and even if Hamburg is relegated in 2017/18 Wood’s contract wouldn’t decrease to a number that clubs are comfortable paying.

If Wood was to join MLS, he would be considered a Discovery signing as he is not currently on the MLS player allocation list. The Washington Post previously reported that an MLS club has Wood included on their Discovery list, although the team’s identity isn’t known.

Report: Fellaini eyes MLS, China after shooting down Man United terms

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Marouane Fellaini‘s time in Manchester looks to be numbered, and a move abroad could have the Belgian in line for one last payday during his career.

The Manchester United midfielder has rejected multiple offers to stay on at Old Trafford ahead of his contract expiring this summer, which would allow Fellaini to pursue other opportunities come June.

Fellaini is being linked to moves to Major League Soccer and the Chinese Super League, as the veteran aims to secure a sizable contract upon leaving the Red Devils after over five-and-a-half years with the club.

The Daily Mail is also reporting that Fellaini would be open to hearing options that could keep him in the Premier League, although it is unclear if there is any serious interest from English sides at this time.

Since the arrivals of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic, Fellaini has struggled to find playing time under manager Jose Mourinho.

This season, the Belgium international has appeared in just 14 PL matches and 19 in all competitions. Fellaini has scored four goals in that span.

Chicago Fire venue to be renamed SeatGeek Stadium

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The Chicago Fire won’t be moving into a new stadium 2019, however, their venue will have a new name donned on the side of it.

For years, the Eastern Conference side has played its home matches at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois, but starting next season the Fire’s home turf will be called SeatGeek Stadium as part of a rebrand.

SeatGeek is one of the largest online after-market ticket distributors, and was created back in 2009.

Toyota Park will undergo its transformation at the conclusion of the 2018 MLS season.

The venue is also home to the NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars.