ProSoccerTalk’s daily soccer re-set

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Soccer birthdays: If you to went on playing style alone, you’d say Roger Espinoza was 33 years old. Opponents find it frustrating, but Espinoza’s a master of leveraging that area between where a normal player stops and the rules begin. He’s the person in the pickup game who’s compensating for a lost step with a bag of tricks picked up through years at that park.

The main difference? Espinoza’s not that old. He’s not old at all. The Honduran international turns 26 today, a birthday he shares with German soccer legend Birgit Prinz and Queens Park Rangers winger Shaun Wright-Phillips.

Big important soccer stories of the day: All’s quiet on the homefront as Major League Soccer gears up for its regular season finales, but in England, race is back on the front back page.

One day after Rio and Anton Ferdinand released a statement explaining their issues with the Football Association and Professional Footballers’ Association’s attempts to combat racism, expect the pundits and tabloid press to have their say. Based on early reactions, there’s a danger that defensiveness will lead most views to promote (rather than engage) the brothers Ferdinand. At some point, England, you’re going to have to honestly, thoughtfully talk these things out.

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day:  Carla Overbeck

Ahead on the blog today*: “You’ve been a great audience. No, you really have, but we all know why you’re here. I DON’T WANT TO WASTE YOUR TIME! So put your drinks down and your hands together for Mr. Noah Davis.”

PST background noise while blogging today: Kung Fu Panda’s quest for a fourth home run.

What we should all watch on TV: Europa League is still a real and actual thing. On Thursday, it gets realer. And actualer!

That’s when Liverpool hosts big spending Anzhi Makhachkala. You know: The team that bought former Barcelona, Inter Milan star Samuel Eto’o? They’ve also bought Christopher Samba, Yuri Zhirkov, and Lassana Diarra, as well as a handful of lesser known signings that have pushed them to the top of the Russian Premier League.

On Thursday, Anzhi visit Anfield. Check your local FOX Soccer listings.

We’ll leave you with this question: If you took the time to rank them, where would the 2012 Major League Soccer season place among the league’s previous campaigns? For quality, entertainment, drama, highlights, competition – whatever quality you want to prioritize. How good has 2012 been?

Scudamore gets $6 million as he leaves Premier League

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LONDON (AP) Premier League clubs have agreed to give departing chairman Richard Scudamore $6 million over three years despite a public backlash.

The Football Supporters’ Federation had urged clubs not to give Scudamore the money after news of the planned payment leaked. But the league says “the payments are in recognition of the outstanding work Richard has carried out over the last 19 years.”

In a statement after a meeting of the 20 clubs on Thursday, the league said Scudamore will “remain available in an advisory capacity,” and justified the payments as being a “vital” part of “a comprehensive set of non-compete clauses.”

Premier League clubs vote VAR into use for 2019-20 season

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It’s been inevitable for quite some time, but now it’s official: video review will be used in the Premier League when the 2019-20 season kicks off next August.

[ MORE: Fulham hire Claudio Ranieri after firing Slavisa Jokanovic ]

20 of 20 current PL clubs voted on Thursday to confirm the use of the modern technology beginning next season.

The Bundesliga and Serie A began using the video assistant referee (VAR) at the start of the 2017-18 season, and have continued (successful) operation of the system in 2018-19. Major League Soccer introduced the protocol two-thirds of the way through its 2017 season, to far greater degrees of varying success. La Liga is set to begin use of VAR next season as well.

[ MORE: England vs. USMNT preview ]

VAR was first used in the English game last season, when select FA Cup fixtures were used as test runs, while the same is being done in the EFL Cup this season.

Chelsea expected to let Cahill leave on loan in January

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Gary Cahill is no longer first-choice at Chelsea — anything but, in fact, as he’s played just 21 minutes in the Premier League this season — and the club is prepared to allow its captain to leave on loan in January as a reward for six years of excellent service, according to a report from the Guardian.

[ MORE: Fulham hire Claudio Ranieri after firing Slavisa Jokanovic ]

New Blues boss Maurizio Sarri has used Cahill sparingly thus far — even leaving him out of the 18-man team for Sunday’s draw with Everton — but has praised the 32-year-old for his professionalism and influence as a valued member inside the locker room. For those reasons, Sarri is prepared to do right by one of the club’s most senior members as Cahill seeks regular first-team minutes.

[ MORE: England vs. USMNT preview ]

Cahill’s current contract is set to expire in the summer of 2020, thus a loan in January and an ensuing permanent transfer this coming summer represents the club’s final opportunity to recoup a small fee for a player who will surely garner plenty of interest from within the PL. Having paid under $9 million to sign him from Bolton in January 2012, Chelsea have gotten pretty good value for their initial investment, including two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, a League Cup, and one Champions League and Europa League title each during Cahill’s spell at the club.

U.S. U-20 men one win from World Cup

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One win.

That’s all the United States’ U-20 men’s national team will need to advance to this summer’s World Cup in Poland and the Pan-American Games in Peru.

[ MORE: Surgery for Mendy ]

The Yanks cruised through group play with a nearly perfect nine days of soccer, the closest of five wins a 6-1 defeat of Trinidad and Tobago.

Competition is a bit tougher in the knockout stage, but Costa Rica and Honduras did the U.S. a massive solid by drawing 1-1 in their opener.

Now Tab Ramos’ kids can qualify for the World Cup with a defeat of Costa Rica on Friday or Honduras on Monday.

The top two teams in each group qualify for Poland, while the Group A winner advances to the CONCACAF U-20 Championship to face the winner of Group B (Mexico, El Salvador, or Panama).

The U.S. has spread the scoring around, lead by 17-year-old Ulysses Lainez of LA Galaxy II (six goals). His former Galaxy Academy buddy, Alexis Mendez of Freiburg has five goals, as does Toronto FC 18-year-old Ayo Akinola.