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MLS Snapshot: Orlando christen new home with 1-0 win over NYCFC

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The game in 100 words (or less): Shall we call them Orlando City SC 2.0? After spending their first two seasons as an MLS franchise playing their home games at the old Citrus Bowl, the Lions moved into a new venue on Sunday: home, otherwise known as Orlando City Stadium. Situated in downtown Orlando, the new digs were (not quite) completed at a total cost of $155 million, and Sunday’s opener indicated it was worth every penny paid (and then some). The north end of the stadium, dubbed “The Wall” in a nod to Borussia Dortmund’s yellow rendition, boasts the first all-standing section in MLS history. The angle at which the single-level stand sits helped to create an atmosphere not at all unlike that of the Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City. Cyle Larin scored the first goal in the brand new, 25,500-seat stadium’s history, a 15th-minute header from three yards out, set up masterfully by Giles Barnes, and that’s all they’d need to secure three points and send the sellout crowd home without wanting.

[ MORE: Saturday’s MLS (afternoon) roundup | Late-night ]

Three moments that mattered

8′ — Kaka goes down early; day is done — 7 minutes, 13 seconds: that’s the exact period for which Kaka was healthy and fit to begin the 2017 season.

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 05: Kaka #10 of Orlando City SC goes down with a leg injury during a MLS soccer match between New York City FC and Orlando City SC at the Orlando City Stadium on March 5, 2017 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)

15′ — Larin heads home from Barnes’ cross — Larin will be in Europe sooner rather than later — this summer, if I’m putting my money on it — and this kind of (improved) back-post run is just one reason why; his size, speed to arrive at the right time, and leaping/heading ability are a few of the others.

53′ — Bendik reaches out to deny Harrison — Jack Harrison probably thought he’d pulled the visitors level as soon as he put his left foot through the ball in the 53rd minute. What he hadn’t foreseen, though, was Joe Bendik going full-stretch to push the ball wide of his right-hand post.

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Men of the match: Joe Bendik

Goalscorers: Larin (15′)

Follow Live: Chelsea, Swans, Cherries in FA Cup replays

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Chelsea, Swansea City, and Bournemouth look to avoid upsets in replays of their third round FA Cup matches.

[ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup scores here ]

All three matches kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET

The Blues tangle with former Premier League peers Norwich City, this time at Stamford Bridge, in a bid to host a fourth round match with Newcastle United.

Antonio Conte‘s not messing around (too much) with the XI.

Swansea City and Wolves, meanwhile, are arguably battling for a bid in the fourth round, as a trip to Notts County is on the docket for the winner of Wednesday’s replay at the Liberty Stadium.

Bournemouth is at Wigan Athletic for a replay with the third-tier Latics, with the victor hosting West Ham United on Jan. 27.

Benevento captain Lucioni banned one year for doping

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ROME (AP) Benevento captain Fabio Lucioni has been banned one year for doping.

[ MORE: Plenty to prove for Big Sam ]

Italy’s national anti-doping organization made the decision Tuesday after the steroid clostebol was found in a sample taken after Benevento’s 1-0 loss to Torino in September.

Benevento team physician Walter Giorgione was banned for four years for administering the steroid to Lucioni in a spray.

Both Lucioni and Giorgione plan to appeal.

The 30-year-old Lucioni joined Benevento in 2014 and the defender helped the team move from the third division up into Serie A this season for the first time.

Benevento is last in Serie A with only two wins in 20 matches.

The ban is back-dated to October, meaning Lucioni can return early next season.

Everton completes move for Walcott: “I’m dead excited” (video)

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Everton continues to supply its managers with top-end talent, adding Theo Walcott to its expensive season of boys which includes Gylfi Sigurdsson, Wayne Rooney, Cenk Tosun, Jordan Pickford, and Michael Keane.

[ MORE: Plenty to prove for Big Sam ]

The deal is reported to be near $28 million for Walcott, who’s made only a half-dozen Premier League appearances this season but did nab three goals in five Europa League matches.

Walcott, 28, scored 108 goals in 397 appearances for the Gunners. His 19-goal campaign last season was his second-best — he scored 21 in 2012-13 — but Walcott dipped down Arsene Wenger‘s depth charge and is leaving to pursue regular football.

And his comments will be lapped up by the #WengerOut brigade at his now former club:

“The Club has won trophies but I want them to win trophies now. The manager is very hungry and it’s just what I need. I’ve had a couple of chats with him and straightaway I felt that hunger and that desire that he wanted from me. I need that and I wanted that

The move is another exciting one for Everton, which has underachieved under Ronald Koeman and now Sam Allardyce. And it’s another sale from Arsenal which gives pause: Are the underperforming Gunners going to regret the move?

In the 2005-06 season, Walcott made his Southampton debut in the Football League Championship at the age of 16, and moved to Arsenal the next season.

Walcott has eight goals in 47 caps for England, and won two FA Cups at Arsenal.

[ MORE: Montreal nabs Algerian DP ]

Here is a useful quote from Sam Allardyce:“His physical output is excellent, he would be one of our top players in that area as well, which will hopefully bring us a lot more excitement and more ability to get forward quicker and create.

And here is an utterly useless one: ““If you analyse his goal record, then we are looking at a player who contributes goals on a regular basis.”

You don’t say. To paraphrase: If you look at all his goals, he regularly scores goals. Here’s more from the player on his move.

Montreal to nab Algerian DP Taider from Bologna

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The loss of Swiss power Blerim Dzemaili is a big one for the Montreal Impact, but another World Cup player may be taking his place in Quebec.

[ MLS: Club-by-club SuperDraft needs ]

Tutto Bologna reports that Algerian playmaker Saphir Taider, 25, is set to sign with the Impact on a contract through 2020.

On loan to Montreal last season, Dzemaili went back to Bologna. Taider is coming back the other way and will reportedly be a Designated Player.

Taider isn’t as consistent a player as Dzemaili, but presents a skill set that should be a massive problem for MLS midfields.

He has 42 caps with five goals for Algeria, and was once property of Juventus. He spent parts of four seasons at Inter Milan, with loan stints back to Bologna, at Sassuolo, and a unremarkable time at Southampton.