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Swedish league game canceled because of match-fixing attempt

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STOCKHOLM (AP) A Swedish league soccer match between Goteborg and AIK was called off Thursday because of an apparent match-fixing attempt.

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Swedish soccer federation general secretary Hakan Sjostrand said it was “a very serious attack against Swedish football and we will never, never accept it.”

The match had been scheduled for Thursday in Goteborg.

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The federation said an AIK player was offered “a substantial amount … if he actively contributes to the club losing the evening’s planned match.” The Aftonbladet daily reported that Goteborg said its goalkeeper was approached.

Sjostrand said he was informed of the attempt late Wednesday, adding he regretted to postpone the game which he described as “one of the season’s finest moments.”

Goteborg chairman Frank Andersson said he was informed that “that one or several players had been approached and offered money to help lose the match.”

Andersson said he “fully backed the decision” to postpone the match.

“One thinks, this is not going to happen to us. Then it becomes real and one has to digest it,” Andersson said. “I don’t think one should be naive. We have worked with this for quite some time.”

Swedish police spokesman Fredrik Gardare said authorities were “taking this seriously,” but refused to give details about the investigation.

“Those who try to pressure players either with threats or bribes will have a tough time,” Gardare said.

AIK, a team based in Stockholm, is in sixth place in the league with 14 points while Goteborg is in 11th with 10 points.

AIK sporting director Bjorn Wesstrom said it had not been decided when the game would be played, adding that the players would not comment on the situation.

Associated Press writer Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report.

PODCAST: Bob Bradley talks MLS past, USMNT

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Scott Nicholls and Otis Earle welcomed Bob Bradley to their “Beyond The Pitch” podcast to discuss his time coaching the Chicago Fire, the Fire’s current squad, how MLS has evolved, the new generation of players coming into the USMNT and more.

Perhaps most interesting is Bradley talking about previous losses with stinging emotion that sounds like they happened yesterday, including the 2000 MLS Cup.

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Since being fired from Swansea City after less than 100 days, Bradley has been linked with the Norway national team gig as well as a return to Los Angeles. Keep up with the U.S. coach here, and check it out:

U.S. Open Cup preview: Which underdog has best odds?

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Every dog has its day, and the three lower-tier clubs remaining in the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup are hoping for a second.

Miami FC, Sacramento Republic, and FC Cincinnati enjoyed wins over Major League Soccer sides in the fourth round, and now get further MLS tests in this week’s fifth round.

[ MORE: Lampard linked with manager opening ]

Once FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids tangle on Tuesday, attention turns to the underdogs on Wednesday. Who has the best chance to advance?

  1. Miami FC vs. Atlanta United — Playing an MLS expansion side at Riccardo Silva Stadium will give Miami a bit of confidence, and this is also a side with some good experience in pressure spots. Whether it’s manager Alessandro Nesta or MLS vets Michel, Gabriel Farfan, and Michael Lahoud, MFC won’t shy away. Upset chance: Solid.
  2. FC Cincinnati vs. Chicago Fire — The visitors are having a heck of a season in MLS and don’t have a group which will be worried by a huge crowd, but there’s no debating that 25,000-plus in Southern Ohio give FCC more than a puncher’s chance. Upset chance: Improbable, but possible
  3. LA Galaxy vs. Sacramento Republic — If LA puts something close to its best side out there, Sacramento will struggle to stop its attack.  Upset chance: Long shot.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, New England hosts DC United, Philadelphia visits the Red Bulls, Seattle is off to San Jose, and Houston hosts Sporting KC.

WATCH: Spain’s Saul smashes a shot past Italy’s Donnarumma

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Since returning from a loan at Rayo Vallecano, Saul Niguez has been a somewhat under the radar star at Atletico Madrid.

Coming off his best season with Atleti, the 22-year-old Saul is making an even bigger name for himself at the U-21 EURO this summer.

Spain’s Saul scored a hat trick past Gianluigi Donnarumma and Italy on Tuesday, and the second goal was laced with venom.

Getting onto the ball from 30-plus yards out, Saul smashed his shot with enough power that the ball barely had occasion to rotate.

Saul is under contract at the Vicente Calderon through 2022, and has three caps for Spain’s senior team, too. He was rated Atleti’s third-best performer by WhoScored this season.

Men in Blazers podcast: Transfer window, USMNT at Gold Cup, RBNY-NYCFC

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Men In Blazers are back with their latest podcast, and the boys are hitting club soccer here and abroad as well as Bruce Arena’s men in the red, white, and blue.

Rog and Davo break down transfer window activity, rumored and real; get a heat check on the USMNT heading into the Gold Cup; and recap the (Ray) Hudson River Derby.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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