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Bradley, Dempsey, Howard join USMNT for Gold Cup KO rounds

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CLEVELAND (AP) Forward Clint Dempsey, midfielder Michael Bradley and goalkeeper Tim Howard are among six additions to the U.S. roster for the knockout phase of the CONCACAF Gold Cup as coach Bruce Arena opted to add some of his most experienced players.

[ MORE: Player ratings from USA 3-0 Nicaragua | Three things we learned ]

Arena also added forward Jozy Altidore, midfielder Darlington Nagbe and goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez, the U.S. Soccer Federation said Sunday. Gonzalez’s application to change affiliation from Mexico to the U.S. was approved by FIFA last month, after the deadline for setting the 23-man roster for the group phase.

Goalkeepers Brad Guzan and Sean Johnson were dropped along with midfielders Alejandro Bedoya, Cristian Roldan and Kelyn Rowe, and forward Dom Dwyer. Arena had planned in advance to replace Guzan, Johnson and Bedoya.

Bedoya is expecting the birth of his second child next week.

[ REACP: USA beats Nicaragua, 3-0 ]

The U.S. plays its quarterfinal Wednesday in Philadelphia against a third-place team from another group, likely Honduras, El Salvador or Jamaica. The opponent was to be determined Sunday night.

Using a mostly junior varsity group, the Americans opened with a 1-1 tie against Panama and wasted a two-goal lead against Martinique before winning 3-2. The U.S. defeated Nicaragua 3-0 Saturday night, getting an 88th-minute goal from Matt Miazga to win Group B by edging Panama based on total goals.

Each team is allowed to make up to six changes in the 24 hours after finishing the group stage, and the additions must come from the 40-man preliminary roster submitted in early June.

“We have added some experienced players,” Arena said in a statement. “The players leaving all made a good impression, and I’m optimistic for their future with the national team program.”

Dempsey has 56 international goals, one shy of Landon Donovan’s American record. Dempsey, Bradley, Howard and Altidore all are regular starters when the full national team player pool is called in, and Nagbe appeared in the first seven U.S. matches this year after Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann and started his second stint as coach.

The U.S. improved to 32-1-4 during the group stage of the Gold Cup and 6-0-5 since Arena returned.

Updated USMNT roster

Goalkeepers: Jesse Gonzalez, Bill Hamid, Tim Howard

Defenders: Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Hedges, Eric Lichaj, Matt Miazga, Justin Morrow, Jorge Villafana, Graham Zusi

Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta, Paul Arriola, Michael Bradley, Joe Corona, Dax McCarty, Darlington Nagbe, Chris Pontius, Gyasi Zardes

Forwards: Juan Agudelo, Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris

WATCH: Camila’s wicked swerving goal for Brazil

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The Tournament of Nations got underway earlier Thursday, with Brazil and Japan drawing 1-1 in Seattle.

While some in the crowd may’ve been waiting to see the United States women’s national team and Australia in the second game of the twin bill, they got an absolute treat from Brazil’s Camila.

[ MORE: Galaxy’s season-changing signing ]

The Orlando Pride midfielder is yet to scoop up 10 caps, but blasted this 25-yard goal home with a wicked outside bend.

The aesthetics are terrific.

LA Galaxy’s second Dos Santos signing is a season-changer

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Remember this day, MLS fans, as one that perhaps helped determine an MLS Cup Finalist.

The LA Galaxy have signed Villarreal midfielder and Mexican national teamer Jonathan Dos Santos, and he’s the sort of player who could alter the landscape of the Western Conference.

Like Nicolas Lodeiro to Seattle last season and New England’s addition of Jermaine Jones in 2014, Dos Santos’ move comes with the distinct possibility of elevating LA into the next stratosphere.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

Take the Galaxy’s history of winning, and toss in a midseason coaching improvement from Curt Onalfo to Sigi Schmid, as well as MVP-in-their-own-right caliber teammates Giovani Dos Santos, Romain Alessandrini, and Jelle van Damme.

Don’t sleep on the fact that Schmid might be gathering momentum from inheriting a talented and underachieving roster and a brand new game-changing midfielder, which feels a bit like karmic retribution for Seattle firing him and signing Lodeiro the next day last season. Seattle only went and won the MLS Cup.

Schmid has used any number of formations, but could deploy a 4-3-3 with Jona Dos Santos, Jermaine Jones, and Joao Pedro in the midfielder and Giovani Dos Santos, Alessandrini, and Gyasi Zardes up top (Sebastian Lletget could return at some point, too).

Now FC Dallas is very deep, Sporting KC looks powerful, and Seattle won it all last year — plus, may be adding Derlis Gonzalez?!? — but LA’s move to add Dos Santos creates a quartet of teams with proven mettle (Houston looks decent, too, but I have concerns about their first-time as a unit in the playoffs).

Joey Barton’s gambling ban lowered by almost 5 months

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Joey Barton’s 18-month ban for betting on almost 1,300 soccer-related events has been lowered to 13 months and one week.

Putting aside the hilarity of grown men and women discussing whether an extra week was necessary, the alteration means he’ll be eligible to return to football on June 1, 2018.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

While that still hampers the idea of the 34-year-old playing again — he’ll be 36 when the ban ends — it’s a significant change if he’s open to the idea of returning to the game.

Barton’s original ban expired in late October 2018, well into a season. From Sky Sports:

The appeal board also agreed: “It was clear that Mr Barton was not involved in any cheating, he did not influence any games and there was nothing suspicious about his bets.

“(The reduction) reflects the overall seriousness of the breaches and also the mitigation of Mr Barton’s addiction.”

Barton’s remarkably controversial career has including several suspensions and imprisonment, but he always found his way back to the field and was very good when in form. After time at Manchester City and Newcastle United, Barton fended off naysayers with stints at QPR, Marseille, Burnley, and a regrettable move to Rangers.

We may see him on the field in August 2018.

FIFA fines Qatar after players’ political support for Emir

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has fined Qatar’s soccer federation after national team players breached rules against political statements by displaying T-shirts of the country’s Emir at a World Cup qualifier.

FIFA says its disciplinary panel imposed a 50,000 Swiss francs ($51,800) fine and reprimanded Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host.

[ MORE: Nainggolan staying at Roma ]

The incident happened in Doha on June 13, amid a dispute with regional rivals Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Qatar’s players warmed up for a 3-2 win over South Korea wearing white T-shirts with an image of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to show their support for him.

FIFA says the charges related to “displaying a political image” and “political displays” by spectators.