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MLS at Week 3: Timbers-Dynamo highlights weekend slate

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Week 3 is upon us and the cold is still present in the Northeast, potentially making Saturday’s New York City FC clash against the Montreal Impact an intriguing one to watch.

[ MORE: MLS Power Rankings — Week 2 ]

Meanwhile, the defending champions open up their home account at CenturyLink Field against the New York Red Bulls.

New York City FC vs. Montreal Impact — 2 p.m. EDT on Saturday

Patrick Vieira’s side found their offensive groove a week ago, and now its Montreal’s turn to try to tame David Villa and co. For the Impact, the Canadian team is coming off a disappointing draw against the Sounders after giving away a two-goal lead late in the match last weekend.

Atlanta United vs. Chicago Fire — 4 p.m. EDT on Saturday

Both sides are coming off of solid wins a week ago, but how good can Atlanta actually be? The newcomers put up a six spot on fellow expansion side Minnesota United, while the Fire put together a solid first-half effort at home against Real Salt Lake.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Toronto FC — 4 p.m. EDT on Saturday

Both Canadian sides have had their share of struggles in the first two weeks, but TFC remains unbeaten. The Whitecaps fell in their Champions League first leg semifinal against Tigres, and now Carl Robinson’s side faces a TFC team that will likely be without Sebastian Giovinco.

D.C. United vs. Columbus Crew — 7 p.m. EDT on Saturday

Both teams from East haven’t played their best in the opening two weeks, particularly D.C., who allowed four against NYCFC at Yankee Stadium. Meanwhile, Ben Olsen’s group hasn’t scored a goal yet either without playmaker Luciano Acosta in the attack.

Orlando City vs. Philadelphia Union — 7:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday

The Lions got some extra time off last week with the rough New England weather, while the Union scored late to pull out a point against TFC.

FC Dallas vs. New England Revolution — 8 p.m. EDT on Saturday

The Revs get back on the road against one of the league’s best while Dallas will riding in hot after picking up a 2-1 win over Pachuca in the CCL. Oscar Pareja’s side has looked among the league’s best to start the season, so the Revs will have their hands full.

Sporting KC vs. San Jose Earthquakes — 8:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday

The Earthquakes have started off hot, and Dominic Kinnear’s men will look to become the first team to score this season against Sporting KC. Meanwhile, the 2013 MLS Cup champions have had difficulty breaking down backlines through the first two weeks.

Colorado Rapids vs. Minnesota United — 9 p.m. EDT on Saturday

Minnesota has had a rough go of it since their entry into MLS, allowing a league-high 11 goals in two games.

Real Salt Lake vs. LA Galaxy — 9:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday

Both teams have battled injuries early on, especially the Galaxy who continue to play without Ashley Cole and Gyasi Zardes, and each club is searching for their first victory of 2017. The Galaxy have struggled out of the gate with Robbie Keane no longer bolstering the attack.

Portland Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo — 10:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday

In arguably the most intriguing matchup of the weekend, the two unbeatens meet at Providence Park. The Dynamo have surprised many to start the season with their potent attack, led by Erick Torres and Romell Quioto, while the Timbers may have the best front group in all of MLS after scoring six goals in the first two weeks.

Seattle Sounders vs. New York Red Bulls — 10:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday

The Red Bulls haven’t played their best, but Jesse Marsch’s side is unbeaten to start and improving week to week. The Sounders, however, have shown a bit of struggles out of the gate although Clint Dempsey‘s return has given the champions a moral boost.

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.