MLS at Week 14: Congested conferences look for separation

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Week 14 is here and a number of team puts their winning streaks on the line as the MLS season nears the halfway point.

[ MORE: MLS Power Rankings — Week 13 ]

Toronto FC has kept a hold of MLS through 13 weeks, and Greg Vanney’s side has a comfortable advantage at the top of the Eastern Conference.

Meanwhile, several clubs like the LA Galaxy have found their footing as of late, and the surging side out west will put their recent form to test against D.C. United.

Portland Timbers vs. San Jose Earthquakes — 11 p.m. EDT on Friday

The Timbers have allowed 21 goals thus far, the second-most of any team in either conference currently sitting in a playoff position. It’s quite clear what’s wrong with Portland to this point, but can they fix their defensive woes? Meanwhile, the Quakes will hope for similar fortunes against the Timbers from the last time the sides met, a 3-0 win for Dominic Kinnear and Co.

New York City FC vs. Philadelphia Union — 1 p.m. EDT on Saturday

The Union finally cooled off against RSL last time out, while NYCFC is the one going through some struggles now with just one win in five. NYCFC is fourth in MLS in goals scored (25)

Sporting KC vs. Minnesota United — 5 p.m. EDT on Saturday

The Loons haven’t strung together back-to-back wins in their inaugural season. Can Adrian Heath get his side past that hurdle on Saturday?

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Atlanta United — 5:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday

The Whitecaps have alternated wins and losses for the past three weeks and yet the Canadian side is just one point outside of the Western Conference’s final playoff spot. Atlanta, however, has returned to its shining form from early in the season with big victories over Houston and NYCFC as of late. With a lot of talented teams in the middle of the pack in the East it could be tricky getting a playoff position, but Atlanta is going to be fun to watch all season, regardless of where they finish.

D.C. United vs. LA Galaxy  — 7 p.m. EDT on Saturday

The Galaxy are the hottest side in MLS not named Toronto FC, but they’ll quietly go about their business for as long as they can. The Western Conference side has scored nine goals in their last three matches, all wins, and now the Galaxy have a chance to jump higher out west with a win over a topsy-turvy D.C. United side.

New England Revolution vs. Toronto FC — 7:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday

Is anybody going to stop Toronto FC in the near future? Highly doubtful. TFC’s unbeaten run is up to eight matches now, and the Canadian side is smashing its opponents in that span with 19 goals for while only allowing six.

Montreal Impact vs. New York Red Bulls — 7:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday

The bleeding appears to have stopped for the Red Bulls after back-to-back results while the Impact picked up a huge victory over the Timbers. The Impact still sit buried at the bottom of the East to this point though, so a win would go a long way against the reigning Eastern Conference champions.

FC Dallas vs. Real Salt Lake — 8 p.m. EDT on Saturday

After starting off hot this season, Dallas has cooled off lately, with the club failing to win in their last three. The goals haven’t come in that span either, as Oscar Pareja’s group has tallied just one finish since their May 14 draw against NYCFC.

Colorado Rapids vs. Columbus Crew — 9 p.m. EDT on Saturday

The Rapids have something positive to build off of after knocking off Sporting KC last weekend, while the Crew continue to be a difficult puzzle to figure out. Greg Berhalter’s side went out a laid an egg in the form of a 5-0 defeat in Toronto last weekend before beating the Sounders at home. Consistency is certainly lacking for both clubs.

Orlando City vs. Chicago Fire — 7:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday

In one of the clashes of the weekend the Lions look to regain their fortress status at home after falling to New York City FC last time out down in Orlando. Their opponent though is a side on a mission after the Fire have racked up four straight wins and five consecutive positive results in recent weeks. Veljko Paunovic’s men currently sit in second place in the East, a position most people didn’t expect the club to be in after last season’s struggles.

Seattle Sounders vs. Houston Dynamo — 10 p.m. EDT on Sunday

The Sounders are only one point out of a playoff spot in the west but this isn’t the team we expected to see when the season began. Meanwhile, the Dynamo continue to be one of the most pleasantly surprising teams in MLS as the Texas club sits atop the Western Conference. They’ll go for their first away win of the season on Sunday despite boasting a perfect home record.

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.