MLS at Week 15: Three matches go on despite international window

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As they say in show business, the show must go on.

That’s the case this weekend as three MLS matches will be played despite the international window taking center stage for a multitude of World Cup qualifiers and international friendlies.

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Here’s a look at the six teams taking to the field as part of a concise MLS Week 15.

Chicago Fire vs. Atlanta United — Saturday at 4 p.m. ET

It’s fair to say both clubs are very different from when they met on March 18 — a 4-0 thrashing in favor of Atlanta. With a game in hand, the Chicago Fire to move to within a point of Eastern Conference leaders Toronto FC on Saturday, a position that few thought was possible for the Fire based on their struggles over recent seasons. In 2016, the Fire had just 31 points all season (think about that for a second!). To this point, Veljko Paunovic and Co. have accumulated 25 points in their first 14 matches. Meanwhile, Atlanta sits on 18 points and is coming off of a loss on the road to the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Sporting KC vs. Montreal Impact — Saturday at 8 p.m. ET

Peter Vermes’ Sporting KC side has been up and down as of late but the West leaders managed to pull things together last weekend with a comfortable 3-0 win over Minnesota United to get back to winning ways. The Impact on the other hand have had more struggles this season and sit second-to-bottom in the East through 12 matches. The Canadian side has had their share of difficulties on the road to this point, taking just six out of a possible 18 points away from Saputo Stadium.

Portland Timbers vs. FC Dallas — Saturday at 10:30 p.m. ET

These are hands down two of the top sides out west and possibly in MLS. Even without Darlington Nagbe, who is off on USMNT duty, the Timbers boast one of the top attacks in the league, while Dallas is not too far behind. This fixture hasn’t been friendly to the Timbers over recent times though, with Oscar Pareja’s side winning three of the last five encounters and the other two ending in draws.

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.

β€œFor 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.

β€œThe 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.