Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune via AP

MLS (afternoon) roundup: Fire burn bright; Revs, DCU get needed wins

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The fifth MLS Saturday of 2017 is nearly halfway complete. A quick roundup of the day’s early games…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Chicago Fire 1-0 Columbus Crew SC

Chicago were well on their way to being one of the biggest storylines early in the 2017 season before they went and signed Bastian Schweinsteiger. Two games into Schweinsteiger’s MLS adventure, and Veljko Paunovic’s side is the subject of “Are they MLS Cup contenders?” whispers.

On Saturday, Chicago closed the gap to Eastern Conference-leading Columbus with a 1-0 victory at Toyota Park, courtesy of Nemanja Nikolic’s second MLS goal. The Hungarian international got the goal, but all the world’s plaudits go to Dax McCarty for the inch-perfect, 40-yard, seeing-eye through ball to split a half-dozen defenders and put Nikolic in on goal in the blink of an eye.

It’s still early days for Schweinsteiger and Chicago — and the temperature and tempo haven’t yet risen above comfort level for the 32-year-old — but they’re miles better after five games than they were at any point in 2016. Simply being relevant again is a massive victory all its own.

[ MORE: U.S., Mexico, Canada to announce joint 2026 World Cup bid ]

D.C. United 2-1 New York City

Every last one of the East’s 11 teams will spend the entire season beating up on each other before seven or eight finish five or six points apart — it’s a tradition as old as the league itself. Take, for instance, D.C.’s 2-1 victory over NYCFC. Through their first four games, arguably not team in MLS had inspired less confidence (and excitement) than Ben Olsen’s side. On Saturday, they largely played Patrick Vieira’s bunch off the field. Lloyd Sam and Luciano Acosta had the home side 2-0 after 73 minutes, before David Villa pulled a goal back with six minutes of regular time remaining.

[ MORE: Power rankings — Where do the three unbeatens slot in? ]

New England Revolution 2-0 Houston Dynamo

Tyler Deric had an afternoon to forget, as the Houston goalkeeper spilled a pair of saves right into the paths of Kei Kamara and Juan Agudelo. That’s three games without a loss for New England, while Houston have lost two of their last three after taking all six points from their first two games of the season.

Adidas reveals away kits for Mexico, Argentina, 7 other World Cup squads

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Fans of El Tri, La Albiceleste, Die Mannschaft and more can now get their hands on another set of 2018 World Cup jerseys.

Adidas unveiled the latest designs for the away kits of nine World Cup squads, including Mexico, Argentina and the defending champions Germany, with some of the team’s star players modeling the kits. Carlos Vela, Lionel Messi and Toni Kroos are all pictured in Adidas’ photo shoots with the new kits, and the uniforms are inspired by the kits worn at previous World Cups.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Sweden, Colombia, Japan, Belgium and the host nation Russia are also included.

“For adidas, the World Cup has always been the stage to showcase some of our most iconic products, innovations and designs,” Juergen Rank, Senior Design Director said in a statement. “Many of these classic designs remain hugely popular with fans, and we want to continue to celebrate them while introducing new innovations, combining authenticity with progression.

“The new official World Cup away kits feature both the latest product technologies to ensure peak performance on the pitch and easily identifiable classic looks, making them perfectly suited to both the stadium and the street.”

Check out the latest kit release from Adidas below.

Ronaldo: “I always believe I am the best”

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You’ve got to appreciate the over-sized ego of Cristiano Ronaldo, even if it is deserved.

The 33-year-old Real Madrid striker was bestowed the 2017 Player of the Year award from the Portugal FA, earning 65 percent of the vote. But more than winning yet another trophy to add to his burgeoning case was what he told the media after accepting the award.

“We have to defend what is ours because there is always a Portuguese in the fight (for the top awards),” Ronaldo said, via AS. “I always believe and say that I am the best, whatever they say, and then I show it in the field. We are in the fight year after year.”

Ronaldo did score 42 goals last year for Real Madrid and has scored 18 goals in 2018 alone already for Los Blancos as the club look to go back-to-back-to-back in the UEFA Champions League.

Miazga: “We’re all ready to make an impression” with USMNT

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Last October, for reasons unknown, Matt Miazga didn’t make the U.S. Men’s National Team squad for its final two World Cup qualifiers.

Five months later, he’s risen to the top of the centerback depth chart.

[MORE: Digging into the USMNT roster]

The hulking centerback spoke on Tuesday as the USMNT started off its training camp in Cary, N.C., noting that the youth-laden squad wanted to make an impression to stay in the picture moving forward. With four years until the next World Cup and still more than a year until competitive matches, there is still plenty of shuffling and expanding of the player pool to do before then.

Have a listen to Miazga and enjoy the sights and sounds of the USMNT training camp ahead of its friendly match against Paraguay.


Banker Gaetano Micciche elected Serie A president

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MILAN (AP) Bank boss Gaetano Micciche has been elected president of Serie A.

Micciche, the president of Banca IMI, was chosen unanimously on Monday by the Italian league’s 20 clubs.

He succeeds Maurizio Beretta, who left the position nearly a year ago.

[ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

The league has been under emergency leadership, first by former Italian football federation president Carlo Tavecchio then by Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago.

Malago recommended Micciche for the position.

The federation remains under emergency leadership following Tavecchio’s resignation in the wake of Italy’s failure to qualify for the World Cup.