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Antonio Conte reflects on Chelsea’s record-equaling win

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Chelsea is on the verge of making history.

[ MORE: Pogba hails United

Antonio Conte‘s Chelsea won for the 13th-straight Premier League game on Saturday, equaling Arsenal’s 2002 record for the most consecutive wins in a single Premier League season.

When they face Tottenham on Jan. 4 at White Hart Lane (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) they can set a new PL record as their juggernaut continues to catch team on the counter with their devastating pace.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Conte hailed his players.

“Congratulations go to my players. This is a great achievement for my players, for the club, for the fans. After a bad season like last season I am pleased for them. Every day during the training sessions and the games I see great attitude, great work rate and great fight to try to win. I am pleased for them and the deserve this.”

Conte also added that it was “great achievement” to win 16 of his first 19 games in charge in the Premier League but that it “won’t be easy to repeat this run” in the second half of the season.

“To win 13 games in a row in this league is very difficult. Stoke played very well. They hit long balls to Crouch and fought for the second ball. My players showed they can adapt to the different kinds of game we face,” Conte told the BBC. “They showed great commitment, work-rate and will to win. I’m delighted for them. Now, it’s important to celebrate the arrival of the new year, then to think of the next game against Tottenham. Numbers are not important if you do not win the title. Now, they are fantastic and we are proud, but we must concentrate on the second part of the season.”

[ MORE: Cahill reveals Chelsea confidence

All the way through his opening season in the PL, Conte has failed to get ahead of himself and has asked the media to judge his team at the midway point of the season. Now we’ve reached that stage, his Chelsea team is head and shoulder ahead of the rest.

Still, Conte says “the light is on Chelsea after a great first part of the season, and for this reason we must work more” and he will not rest on his laurels.

With these comments you know that he won’t let his side drop the ball, even though he intends to enjoy the New Year’s celebration in London and then tackle Spurs. With Diego Costa in form, pacey wingers wrecking havoc and a rock-solid defense, Conte’s Chelsea look unstoppable as they head into the second half of the season.

His celebrations of running down the touchline and jumping in with the fans after they went 3-2 up said it all. Conte is building something very special at Chelsea but he’s still cautious. This quote sums it up.

“Numbers are not important if you do not win the title,” Conte said post-game.

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.

MLS at Week 8: Galaxy host Atlanta, NYCFC aims to stay unbeaten out west

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A full weekend of MLS action kicks off on Friday night with two of the Western Conference’s elite, while Saturday and Sunday feature a number of quality matchups.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy have been quite the attraction since the Swede made his move to MLS a few weeks ago, but Sigi Schmid’s side will be in for another early-season test on Saturday when they take on a red-hot Atlanta United.

[ MORE: Sweden not keen on Zlatan’s World Cup return ]

Both sides currently sit in second place in their respective conferences, while Atlanta boasts the second-highest goalscoring total in the league to this point, with 15 goals in six games.

Western Conference leaders Sporting KC have gone unbeaten in their last six matches since their opening day defeat to New York City FC, and Matt Besler and Co. will have another opportunity to put their stamp on the conference with a crucial match against the Vancouver Whitecaps, who sit third in the West.

NYCFC and FC Dallas remain on the only two unbeaten clubs left in 2018, although the latter has been far less convincing in its first five matches.

Patrick Vieira and NYCFC are coming off of a hard-fought 2-2 draw against Atlanta last weekend, and now head west to take on the Portland Timbers.

Meanwhile, Dallas plays host to the Philadelphia Union, who have taken just one win out of their first five games.

Here’s a look at the full slate of matches around MLS in Week 8.

Friday

Sporting KC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps — 9 p.m. ET

Saturday

Montreal Impact vs. Los Angeles FC — 1 p.m. ET
Houston Dynamo vs. Toronto FC — 3 p.m. ET
New York Red Bulls vs. Chicago Fire — 3:30 p.m. ET
Columbus Crew vs. New England Revolution — 7:30 p.m. ET
Orlando City vs. San Jose Earthquakes — 7:30 p.m. ET
FC Dallas vs. Philadelphia Union — 8 p.m. ET
Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids — 9 p.m. ET
LA Galaxy vs. Atlanta United — 10:30 p.m. ET

Sunday

Seattle Sounders vs. Minnesota United — 4 p.m. ET
Portland Timbers vs. New York City FC — 6 p.m. ET