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Kenny Saief approved for one-time switch from Israel to USMNT

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Kenny Saief has been officially cleared by FIFA to make his one-time switch of international allegiance from Israel to the United States, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced on Thursday.

Saief, 23, was born in Panama City, Fla., to Druze-Israeli parents and began his youth career with Maccabi Haifa in 2005, at the age of 11. After a handful of first-team appearances for various Israeli clubs between 2010 and 2013, Saief earned a regular place in Ironi Nir Ramat HaSharon’s first team during the 2013-14 season. In the summer of 2014, he moved to Belgian side Gent, where he’s played in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League. U.S. men’s national team head coach Bruce Arena included Saief on his 40-man preliminary roster for next month’s 2017 Gold Cup.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

He appeared for Israeli youth national teams at just about every level, but having grown frustrated at the lack of a call-up to the senior team, Saief made it known many months ago he would consider a switch to the USMNT if the omission continued.

Saief figures to serve as something of a utility-man for the USMNT, at least from the start. He’s a left-footed midfielder who’s played extensively on both the left and right wings, and even a bit at left back. It’s the latter that should most intrigued USMNT fans, considering the dearth of options available at the position.

Latest on Ronaldo: PSG offer readied for Perez meeting

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Cristiano Ronaldo will meet with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez at the conclusion of the Confederations Cup, according to reports, at which point a pair of cut-and-dried options could be on the table.

Paris, or the status quo.

Marca reports that Ronaldo will bring a “money no object” offer from Paris Saint-Germain into the meeting, although the same outlet says Perez will know exactly what’s coming due to an understanding between the two big money clubs.

[ MORE: Juve confirms Alves release ]

The 32-year-old Ronaldo remains in fine form at the Confederations Cup, with Portugal’s unbeaten run continuing in Russia. If Portugal is upset by New Zealand in its group stage finale on June 24, it would still stand a good chance of proceeding to the knockout rounds depending on the Mexico-Russia result.

That means the Perez-Ronaldo meeting wouldn’t occur until after July 2, which is when the Final and third-place playoff are scheduled in Russia.

In the meantime, Real manager Zinedine Zidane is said to be cutting his vacation short to meet with Perez regarding not just Ronaldo’s future but the club’s pursuit of Kylian Mbappe (which is a bit over-dramatic given the above news. Feels like a phone call could get the job done).

Southgate sees another position for England, Man City’s Stones

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Despite a dramatically up-and-down first season at Manchester City, John Stones has a very bright footballing future to look forward to — at more than just his natural position, center back, perhaps, according to England manager Gareth Southgate.

[ MORE: Tuesday’s transfer rumor roundup | Monday | Sunday ]

Speaking in the build-up to Tuesday’s friendly against France in Paris, Southgate revealed that Stones spent a considerable amount of time training in a position other than central defense, and based on a certain set of qualities, he’ll be considering him for selection there in the future — quotes from the Guardian:

“We had a look at [Stones in defensive midfield] in training last week, in fact. I also think we want defenders who can bring the ball out and show composure. I think he could do either of those jobs. You’ve asked me if he’s an option there, and I think he is. He’s a player who’s very comfortable receiving possession, and has all the attributes and capabilities to play as a holding midfield player. He obviously hasn’t done that yet, really, so that’s a decision we have to make. But do I believe he can play that role? Absolutely.”

It’s surely an idea which has crossed the mind of Pep Guardiola, Stones’ boss at Manchester City, and someone who’s perhaps best-known for his previous sides’ ability and tendency to pass that ball out of the back.

[ CONFED CUP: Group A preview | Group B ]

Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier, a rival of Stones for England minutes at either position, successfully made the transition from center back to holding midfielder and saw his career take off since moving to White Hart Lane in the summer of 2014, albeit having done so at the age of 20, where as Stones is 23 years old with over 100 Premier League appearances thus far in his career (Dier had made only a couple dozen appearances for Portuguese side Sporting CP before transferring back to England).

LIVE – USMNT, Trinidad and Tobago meet in World Cup qualifier

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The next step in the reclamation project which is the 2017 Hex comes in Colorado on Thursday.

The USMNT hosts Trinidad and Tobago in Commerce City, with the Americans sitting fourth in the table and the visitors sixth.

[ LIVE: Follow USMNT-T&T ]

Tim Howard is between the sticks and Jozy Altidore is up top. The striker did not play in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Venezuela, and has five goals in five matches against T&T.

Starting Lineup: Howard; Villafana, Brooks, Cameron, Yedlin; Bradley, Johnson, Pulisic, Nagbe; Altidore, Dempsey.

Subs: Guzan, Rimando, Gonzalez, Ream, Beasley, Wood, Bedoya, McCarty, Arriola, Acosta, Morris, Zusi

US Open Cup: Amateurs Christos FC set up MLS clash; 4th round draw

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This really is David vs. Goliath.

Minnows Christos FC upset Chicago FC United in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night to advance to the fourth round where they’ll meet D.C. United of Major League Soccer.

[ MORE: Latest US Open Cup news

The amateur team from Baltimore traveled to fellow amateurs and won 1-0 thanks to Levi Houpeau’s early goal. Christos FC were also awarded the $15,000 prize given to the amateur team to go the farthest in the tournament and will now face a huge game at the Maryland SoccerPlex on June 13.

Elsewhere in the third round USL teams also put on a show with nine advancing, plus three NASL teams made it through to face MLS opponents.

Below is the full fourth round schedule via U.S. Soccer, where there are only three all-MLS ties.

The fourth round games played on June 13 and 14.

ate Game Time Venue
June 13# D.C. United (MLS) vs. Christos FC (Md.) 7:30 p.m. ET Maryland SoccerPlex; Boyds, Md.
June 13* Seattle Sounders FC (MLS) vs. Portland Timbers (MLS) 7:30 p.m. PT Starfire Sports Complex; Tukwila, Wash.
June 14 FC Cincinnati (USL) vs. Columbus Crew SC (MLS) 7 p.m. ET Nippert Stadium (Univ. of Cincinnati); Cincinnati, Ohio
June 14 North Carolina FC (NASL) vs. Houston Dynamo (MLS) 7:30 p.m. ET Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.
June 14 New England Revolution (MLS) vs. Rochester Rhinos (USL) 7:30 p.m. ET Anderson Stadium (Providence College); Providence, R.I.
June 14 Philadelphia Union (MLS) vs. Harrisburg City Islanders (USL) 7:30 p.m. ET Talen Energy Stadium; Chester, Pa.
June 14 Atlanta United FC (MLS) vs. Charleston Battery (USL) 7:30 p.m. ET Fifth Third Bank Stadium (Kennesaw State Univ.); Kennesaw, Ga.
June 14& Orlando City SC (MLS) vs. Miami FC (NASL) 7:30 p.m. ET Orlando City Stadium; Orlando, Fla.
June 14 Saint Louis FC (USL) vs. Chicago Fire (MLS) 7 p.m. CT Toyota Stadium (WWT Soccer Park); Fenton, Mo.
June 14^ New York Red Bulls (MLS) vs. New York City FC (MLS) 8 p.m. ET Red Bull Arena; Harrison, N.J.
June 14 FC Dallas (MLS) vs. Tulsa Roughnecks FC (USL) 7 p.m. CT Westcott Field (Southern Methodist Univ.); Dallas, Texas
June 14 Sporting Kansas City (MLS) vs. Minnesota United FC (MLS) 7:30 p.m. CT Children’s Mercy Park; Kansas City, Kan.
June 13& Colorado Rapids (MLS) vs. OKC Energy FC (USL) 7 p.m. MT Dick’s Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, Colo.
June 14 Sacramento Republic FC (USL) vs. Real Salt Lake (MLS) 7:30 p.m. PT Papa Murphy’s Park; Sacramento, Calif.
June 14 Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) vs. Orange County SC (USL) 7:30 p.m. PT StubHub Center Track Stadium; Carson, Calif.
June 14 San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) vs. San Francisco Deltas (NASL) 7:30 p.m. PT Avaya Stadium; S