Premier League Tues. preview: Jockeying for position at Old Trafford

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The Premier League midweek kicks off with a quartet of Tuesday matches, highlighted by a pair of would-be Top Four contenders aiming to rebound from disappointing weekend results.

[ MORE: Koeman defends Barkley, Lukaku ]


Manchester United vs Everton
3 p.m. EDT, NBCSN – [STREAM

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been one of the keys to Manchester United’s success this season, and he’ll bring a much-needed boost to the Red Devils when they host the Toffees.

United is still without Juan Mata, Chris Smalling, and Phil Jones, and the status of Paul Pogba remains up in the air. But United boss Jose Mourinho thinks his side might not have bettered its scoreless result versus West Brom if they were all available.

From ManUtd.com:

“I cannot say now that if Zlatan and Juan Mata had played on Saturday, we would have won the game. I cannot say that at all. What I can say is Jones and Smalling wouldn’t play better than Bailly and Rojo did and Pogba and Herrera couldn’t play better than what Fellaini and Carrick did.”

Ronald Koeman is trying to keep his side afloat in the race to qualify for Europe following injuries to Seamus Coleman and Ramiro Funes Mori, not to mention the disappointing 3-1 loss at Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby.

Burnley vs. Stoke City
2:45 p.m. EDT, Premier League Extratime – [STREAM

Don’t look now, but the Clarets remain winless since the tail end of January and now sits just five points above the drop zone. Given the improved play of Crystal Palace, Swansea City, and Hull City, it’s possible to imagine Burnley finding its way to the drop zone if it cannot handle its business at home. Stoke isn’t an easy out, but Sean Dyche has to find at least a point on Tuesday.

Leicester City vs. Sunderland
2:45 p.m. EDT, Premier League Extratime – [STREAM] 

The Foxes are now just three points off ninth despite a near season-long malaise, and will love their chances of burying Sunderland at the King Power Stadium. David Moyes has added to the Black Cats’ drama by threatening to slap a female reporter, and it would take one of the greatest escapes of all-time to save Sunderland from the drop zone.

Watford vs. West Brom
2:45 p.m. EDT, Premier League Extratime – [STREAM

After beating Arsenal and drawing Manchester United, Tony Pulis‘ West Brom will be eyeing its chances of catching seventh place Everton. The Baggies might catch the hosts off guard considering that Watford would’ve exhaled deeply following a win over Sunderland.

Cristiano Ronaldo announces birth of twin sons via surrogate

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Cristiano Ronaldo will not play in Portugal’s third-place match at the 2017 Confederations Cup this Sunday.

He has bigger things to sort out.

Ronaldo, 32, was released from Portugal’s squad late Wednesday after their defeat on penalty kicks to Chile in the Confed Cup semifinals in Russia.  The Real Madrid and Portugal superstar will now travel to visit his new twin sons, who were born via a surrogate earlier this month, with Ronaldo set to meet them for the first time after captaining Portugal in Russia over the past few weeks.

According to reports from Portuguese TV channel SIC, the surrogate mother was based on the west coast of the U.S. (I can already hear you guys asking ‘does that mean they’re eligible to play for the USMNT?’). Ronaldo is now the father of three children after already having a seven-year-old son, Cristiano Ronaldo Jr.

Reports also suggest that his 22-year-old girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez is five months pregnant, so soon he could be a father for the fourth time. He would then be able to field a five-a-side team of Ronaldo’s for indoor games…

Below is the post from Ronaldo confirming his departure from Portugal’s squad, which the national team also confirmed, as he is set to meet his new children for the first time.

“I was in the service of the national team, as always, body and soul, even though my two sons were born. Unfortunately, we have not been able to achieve the main sporting objective that we wanted, but I am sure we will continue to give joy to the Portuguese.

“The President of the Portuguese Football Federation and the national picker have today had an attitude that has touched me and I will not forget. I’m very happy to finally be with my children for the first time.”

Open Cup roundup: Poku lifts Miami; Red Bulls, Cincy win on PKs

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While MLS represents the majority of the remaining clubs in this year’s U.S. Open Cup, one side continues to defy the odds.

[ MORE: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson ]

Miami FC reached their first quarterfinal in club history after knocking off Atlanta United late on Wednesday, behind a goal and an assist from Kwadwo Poku. The victory for Miami sets up a date with FC Cincinnati — who pulled off an unbelievable shootout win against the Chicago Fire.

Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution both advanced on the night with wins over the Philadelphia Union and D.C. United, respectively. The Red Bulls and Revs will meet in the final eight as well.

Sporting KC kept its hope of hoisting a fourth U.S. Open Cup title alive on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. The 2015 winners will take on FC Dallas — who defeated the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday night.

Here are all the results from tonight’s Open Cup action.

Houston Dynamo 0-2 Sporting KC
New England Revolution 2-1 D.C. United
Miami FC 3-2 Atlanta United
New York Red Bulls 1-1 (5-3 on PKs) Philadelphia Union
FC Cincinnati 0-0 (3-1 on PKs) Chicago Fire
San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 Seattle Sounders
LA Galaxy 2-0 Sacramento Republic

Report: City Football Group set to expand outreach with Girona deal

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City Football Group appears on the verge of adding to its global outreach, and it’s next destination looks to be in Spain.

[ MORE: Are Southampton’s days of selling behind the club? ]

The group of investors, which are known for controlling Premier League side Manchester City, are reportedly nearing a deal to purchase a partial stake in Spanish club Girona — which is set to make its La Liga debut in 2017/18.

CFG is said to be gaining a near “50 percent” stake in the club, with the rest of the club owned by Media Base, a company owned by Pep Guardiola‘s brother, Pere.

Over recent years, CFG has vastly expanded its ownership outreach and currently has a stake in five clubs around the world, with Girona set to be the sixth.

MLS side New York City FC, Australian A-League side Melbourne City FC, Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos and Club Atletico Torque in Uruguay are all part of the CFG enterprise, alongside Man City.

New York Red Bulls ink goalkeeper Luis Robles to new deal

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The “Iron Man” will keep up his amazing journey with the New York Red Bulls, after signing a new deal with the club on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder on verge of joining Los Angeles FC ]

Goalkeeper Luis Robles has extended his contract with the reigning Eastern Conference champions, as the American continues to raise his consecutive starts streak, which stands at 157.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed in the club’s release.

Robles joined the Red Bulls back in 2012 after playing in Germany, and the shot-stopper hasn’t missed a start ever since.