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Report: Atlanta planting another large bid for Uruguayan defender

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Atlanta United has made it a habit in its year-plus in Major League Soccer of pulling off big moves, and another significant transfer could be in the works.

[ MORE: Harry Kane, Eric Dier discuss their Super Bowl hopes ]

A report out of Argentina has suggested that the Eastern Conference side has placed a $9 million bid for Uruguayan outside back Lucas Olaza, who currently plays with Argentine side Talleres de Cordoba.

The 23-year-old came up through the ranks of Uruguayan side River Plate, before playing in Brazil, Spain and eventually Argentina.

Olaza has also represented Uruguay at the youth international level, previously going to the Under-20 World Cup in 2013, where the South America side finished runners’ up.

Nacional probed after fans mock Chapecoense plane crash

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ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) South America’s soccer governing body has opened a disciplinary procedure against Uruguayan club Nacional after a group of its fans mocked the plane crash that killed members of Brazilian soccer club Chapecoense two years ago.

CONMEBOL said Friday the probe was launched due to “offensive behaviors that are an attack on human dignity.”

[ MORE: Mourinho concedes PL title ]

Nacional apologized to the Brazilian team in a statement and said it would launch its own investigation to ensure those “responsible get the most severe sanctions.”

A video broadcast by Brazil’s Globoesporte website shows two Nacional fans laughing and making gestures with their arms imitating a plane crash.

They were filmed during Nacional’s 1-0 victory at Chapecoense on Wednesday in a qualifying round in the Copa Libertadores.

The Chapecoense flight crashed in November 2016 in Colombia, killing 71 people, including nearly all members of the Chapecoense squad.

The modest Brazilian club was traveling to play in its first ever international final.

CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying preview: Last call for Russia

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A World Cup without Lionel Messi is a very real possibility, but Argentina is not the lone big name in danger of missing out on Russia.

Tuesday brings the final five matches of CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying, and only Brazil and — to a lesser extent — Uruguay can feel confident about their places in this summer’s big dance.

[ MORE: USMNT scenarios for final day of WCQ ]

The penultimate match day saw Argentina draw at home to Peru amongst a number of interesting score lines.

Table heading into Matchday 18
Brazil (qualified) — 38 pts, +27 GD, 38 goals
Uruguay (clinched at least 5th) — 28, +10, 28 goals
Chile — 26, +2, 26 goals
Colombia — 26, +2, 20 goals
Peru — 25, +1, 26 goals
Argentina — 25, +1, 16 goals
Paraguay — 24, -5, 19 goals
Ecuador (eliminated) — 20, -1, 25 goals
Bolivia (eliminated) — 14, -20, 14 goals
Venezuela (eliminated) — 9,-17, 18 goals

Matchday 18
Brazil vs. Chile
Ecuador vs. Argentina
Paraguay vs. Venezuela
Peru vs. Colombia
Uruguay vs. Bolivia

The one to circle is Peru vs. Colombia, the only match where both sides are alive on the Road to Russia.

Chile’s trip to Brazil is troubling because even the hosts’ B Team is powerful and no player will risk not impressing with a place in Russia on the line.

Argentina’s visit to Ecuador could be what’s best for Messi and Co., as La Tricolor may still be reeling from elimination on Matchday 17.

Paraguay is home to Venezuela and Uruguay to Bolivia, with both feeling confident about their chances.

The predictions

Chile cannot get past Brazil, but earns a good-looking point

Messi drives Argentina over the line with a win at Ecuador.

Paraguay edges Venezuela

Peru and Colombia split the spoils in Lima.

Uruguay handles Bolivia.

World Cup berths for Uruguay, Argentina, and Colombia. Paraguay finishes fifth an earns a playoff date with New Zealand. Peru and Chile are left out of the 2018 World Cup.

Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay to make 2030 World Cup bid

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay say they will make a joint bid to host soccer’s centenary World Cup in 2030.

The presidents of the three South American countries made the announcement Wednesday at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires. Bidding is not due to open for at least another four years, but the nations are already expected to face stiff competition.

[ MORE: USMNT-Panama preview ]

European soccer federations will be eligible to bid, while China is also expected to express interest in hosting the tournament.

Uruguay staged the first World Cup in 1930.

A three-way bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico is favored to host the 2026 World Cup.

Court hearing opens into spectators attacking referees

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MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) Witnesses in Uruguay’s capital testified before a judge on Monday about an attack on two referees by spectators at a soccer match.

A male and a female referee were attacked on Saturday during a second division under-19 game between Basanez and Platense.

The next day, the Uruguay Football Association cancelled all organized football as referees protested the violence by refusing to officiate. Officials are expected to meet on Wednesday to decide if they will lift the stoppage.

Witnesses told Judge Julia Staricco it started after a kid threw rocks on the field with encouragement from his father. The female referee’s partner asked the kid to stop, leading to an argument with other spectators who punched and kicked the referees.

An attorney representing the country’s referees union, Fernando de Los Santos, says the officials suffered bruises to their bodies.

“There are several people responsible here: The players, especially who are all young in the under-19 category; their parents, and their families,” de Los Santos said.

“This is not new. We’ve seen this kind of violence in the lower divisions. But this is the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

The Basanez and Platense clubs have issued statements condemning the violence. Basanez also said it fired one of its players who was part of the attack.

The case is being handled by the same local judge who recently charged three people for violent acts during the Penarol-Nacional derby.