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Championship Focus: 3 teams separated by 1 point; Fulham go 6th

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Brighton are promoted already, and Newcastle United should still be joining them, but beyond those two, the Championship is a disorganized, jumbled mess.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s coverage of the Championship ]

Norwich City 2-0 Brighton & Hove Albion

Let’s call it the promotion celebration hangover, shall we? After five straight wins secured their place in the Premier League next season, Brighton never really turned up against Norwich on Friday. Scoring one own goal is never an enjoyable experience. Scoring a brace of own goals is an absolute nightmare, which Brighton goalkeeper David Stockdale lived during a disastrous 21-minute period, and will never forget.

Nottingham Forest 3-2 Reading

Having climbed all the way up to third in recent weeks, Reading lost away to relegation threatened Forest on Saturday, and saw their lead in the race for the first playoff spot to be cut from four points to one. Britt Assombalonga put Forest 2-0 up two minutes into the second half, and Mustapha Carayol made it 3-0 before Reading came to life. Yann Kermorgant bagged a second-half brace and brought the visitors back to 3-2 with 15 minutes left to play, but that’s as close as they’d get.

[ MORE: Chelsea beat Tottenham to reach FA Cup final ]

Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 Derby County

Officially the Championship’s most in-form side (five wins and one draw in their last six games), Wednesday have raced past a whole host of sides and moved into fourth place with a comeback victory over Derby. Darren Bent put the visitors ahead three minutes into the second half, but Steven Fletcher and Gary Hooper responded to pull the Owls level and ahead over the the next 16 minutes.

Huddersfield Town 1-4 Fulham

Heading in the opposite direction, Huddersfield have just four wins from their last 11 league games (five losses), and have slipped from third to fifth, where they sit just two points ahead of sixth-place Fulham after a 4-1 home thrashing at the hands of the Cottagers. Scott Malone canceled out Chris Lowe’s early opener, Tom Cairney scored the eventual winner from the penalty spot in the 20th minute, and Stefan Johansen made it 3-1 and 4-1 in the final nine first-half minutes.

Elsewhere in the Championship

(18th) Burton 2-1 (7th) Leeds United

Monday’s Championship schedule

Newcastle United vs. Preston North End — 2:45 p.m. ET

Photo: Flamengo supporter tattoos club jersey on body

MAURÍCIO DOS ANJOS VIA VICE
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A supporter in Brazil has taken fandom to a whole new level with a piece of body art that shows his devotion to the club.

[ MORE: Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks ]

Maurício dos Anjos, a passionate Flamengo fan, has been a life-long supporter of the Rio de Janeiro-based club, and has the tattoo to prove it.

While it may look like body paint, Dos Anjos has a tattoo on the upper-half of his body depicting the Flamengo jersey, and it’s pretty awesome.

“People ask me if I don’t find it strange that I’m always wearing a Flamengo shirt. And I just don’t,” dos Anjos told VICE. “To me, it’s normal. But it doesn’t seem like anyone I talk to about it actually dislikes my tattoo.”

In total, Dos Anjos says the body work took over 90 hours and 30 sessions to complete the tattoo.

Has the perception of MLS really changed?

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When David Beckham arrived in Los Angeles back in 2007 his presence changed the complexion of Major League Soccer for all the right reasons, and the perception of the growing league changed.

[ MORE: Go behind the scenes at NYCFC’s new training facility ]

Over the years, MLS has strived to move into the upper-echelon of the global game, in an attempt to compete with the likes of the Premier League, Bundesliga and La Liga, but naysayers still indicate to this day that the United States’ top flight lacks the quality of the aforementioned.

Phrases like “retirement league” and “uninspired” have been used to describe MLS in the past, particularly when it comes to the league’s willingness to spend boatloads of cash on notable players well past their prime.

Examples such as Andrea Pirlo, Steven Gerrard and Rafael Marquez have at times dampened the perception of MLS due to the lack of quality on the pitch from those players, along with several others that had previously boasted extensive resumes.

Now, we’re at a time where MLS has picked up its scouting, with clubs focused more on younger, more skilled talents from South America and Europe.

That has led to major signings over the past several years, such as Ezequiel Barco, Miguel Almiron, Diego Rossi and Jesus Medina, to name a few.

Has that changed the overall complexion of MLS though?

On Thursday, Kevin De Bruyne‘s agent, Patrick de Koster, suggested in an interview that the Belgium international would likely “finish” his career in MLS.

“For now, he’s very happy at this club,” De Koster said. “We always look what the best solution for the player, both financially and football wise. Kevin’s future? I can see him finish at Los Angeles.”

This comes on the heels of a 36-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic joining the LA Galaxy in a move that has sent shockwaves across the league and the world because of the Swede’s great presence on a global scale.

It’s not to say that players like Ibrahimovic, or previous signings like David Villa and Didier Drogba cannot help the overall growth of MLS, because they certainly bring an awareness to the matches and draw attention to their respective clubs.

However, the long-term viability of MLS has been and will continue to be sustained on youth players succeeding in the league, as well as being able to draw promising young talents into the top flight of the U.S.

Report: USMNT likely to face Brazil, Mexico in September friendlies

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The U.S. Men’s National Team won’t have a busy schedule throughout the summer, but Dave Sarachan and his side will get a tiny taste of the World Cup in September.

[ MORE: Chivas’ Almeyda exhales after CCL title win ]

ESPN FC is reporting that the USMNT will likely face Brazil and Mexico — both of whom will travel to Russia in June — later this year, as the U.S. Soccer Federation is in the process of finalizing both friendlies.

The matches are set to be played during the September international window, which runs from Sept. 3 through Sept. 11.

Both fixtures will reportedly be played in the United States, although venues haven’t been determined yet.

The U.S. has already begun booking a slate of difficult matches to round out 2018, with England and Italy already confirmed opponents for the Yanks in November.

The Yanks are 1-17-0 all-time against Brazil in all competitions, while the U.S. hasn’t faced Mexico since its 1-1 draw at the Estadio Azteca in June 2017 during CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

Men in Blazers: Jurgen Klopp talks loss of Coutinho and more

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Roger Bennett talks with manager Jurgen Klopp about revolutionizing Liverpool, his Greatest Show on Turf-esque offense, the loss of Philippe Coutinho and how he keeps football in perspective.

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