Sebastien Le Toux is headed back to the Philadelphia Union

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They were never good apart. The 2012 season showed us that, so it’s no surprise that Philadelphia and Sebastien Le Toux are looking to get back together.

Le Toux, after being made a contract offer by New York earlier today, has been sent back to the team for whom he excelled in 2010 and 2011, with Philadelphia sending allocation money and Josue Martínez to the Red Bulls.

It’s a great move for both teams. New York had no use for Le Toux, the chance they took on him in exchange for the to-depart Dane Richards failing to paying off. No big deal.

For Philadelphia, while the team hds attacking talents like Michael Farfan and Jack McInerney, they produced with the inconsistency of a squad that lacked a focal point – a group that was searching for something that might click instead of relying on something that would. Having scored 26 goals over his two seasons in Philly, Le Toux represents a chance to fill that void.

Last winter Le Toux was shipped west and was expected to lead a revamped Vancouver attack. He eventually fell victim to Martin Rennie’s tinkering and found himself shipped back to New York. There, Le Toux was a complementary player, with Hans Backe deploying him wide, up top , or not at all as the Red Bulls searched for the right combination.

Between his two 2012 stops, Le Toux combined for five goals in 34 appearances.

Based on opportunity alone, Le Toux should better that mark in 2013. If new coach John Hackworth didn’t intend to give him that chance, it’s hard to see Philadelphia justifying the acquisition.

The bigger questions are (a) whether Le Toux can produce, and (b) if he can mesh with the players who emerged in his absence: Farfan, McInerney and to a lesser extent Antoine Hoppenot and the returning Roger Torres.

It’s a risk worth taking for a Philadelphia franchise that took a major step back in 2013. After making the playoffs in their second season, the Union fell to eighth in the east in year three, parting ways with Peter Nowak early in the campaign.

Le Toux’s return harkens back to those happier times. Until the real games start, he’ll be a source of hope. Once the first whistle blows, though, he’ll have to start improving on his lost 2012.

Ronaldo explains his new chin hair at World Cup

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Now that Cristiano Ronaldo has taken to sporting a reasonable hairstyle atop his head, people are talking about the foliage on his face.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

Ronaldo, 33, drew speculation when he stroked his chin following a goal in his hat trick performance against Spain in the World Cup opener. Some said he was demonstrating defiance against Lionel Messi posing with a goat (Greatest Of All Time) in a recent photograph.

Ronaldo scored again on Wednesday, and there was seemingly little doubt his goatee was a wink to the speculators. But what did it mean, CR7? From ESPN:

“This goatee? It’s a joke I had with [Ricardo] Quaresma. “We were in the sauna [before Friday’s match against Spain] and I started to shave and I left the goatee. I said if I score tomorrow, I would leave it for the rest of the tournament. And it gave me luck.

“I scored in that game, I scored in this one, so it stays.”

Personally, I like to imagine Ronaldo starting to get as wild with his facial hair as he did his head hair.

Perhaps a beatnik style, or something like Serj Tankian from System of a Down. Get nuts, C-Ron.

Report: Southampton could sell Tadic to Ajax for $20m

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Could Southampton be selling one of its most creative forces?

Dusan Tadic, 29, is in the middle of a World Cup run with dark horse Serbia, but the Saints star is also being talked about as a purchase item for Ajax.

[ MORE: Serbia tops Costa Rica ]

The celebrated Eredivisie has traditionally been a selling club for the Premier League, but could be a $20 million buy for Ajax.

The report says director of players Marc Overmars and financial director Jeroen Slop have flown to Southampton to work out a deal.

Tadic starred for Dutch sides Groningen and Twente between 2010-14 before moving to St. Mary’s for a reported $12 million.

He’s scored 24 goals with 35 assists in 162 appearances for Saints, 21 and 30 of which came in the Premier League.

Toronto locks down USMNT backstop Bono with extension

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Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono is going to stay Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

The newly-capped USMNT backstop, 24, has been attracting interest from abroad since breaking past Clint Irwin to win the TFC job and guiding the club to multiple MLS Cup Finals.

Now general manager Tim Bezbatchenko has locked down his young goalkeeper to an undisclosed contract extension. From TorontoFC.com:

“Alex was a big part of our success last season. He set club records for wins and clean sheets and was a critical piece of our championship team,” said Toronto FC Sr. Vice-President, Soccer Operations & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Since joining the club as a first round pick in 2015, Alex’s ability to make key saves in big moments has been critical to our success.”

The Syracuse-born product of Syracuse University has made 64 appearances for the Reds.

WATCH: World Cup, Day 8 — Argentina on the edge; France aims for berth

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France, Denmark, and Croatia can clinch knockout round berths on Thursday in Russia, the last nation also holding the opportunity to help deprive the World Cup of an extended Lionel Messi run.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Messi’s Argentina drew Iceland in its opener, the megastar infamously missing a penalty, and will look to beat a Croatian side that looked quite good in dispatching Nigeria.

That’s the final match of the day, which begins with Denmark facing Australia and continues with a tasty match-up between France and Peru.

Below is Thursday’s schedule in full.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


2018 World Cup schedule – Wednesday, June 20

Group C
Denmark vs. Australia: Samara, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
France vs. Peru: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group D
Argentina vs. Croatia: Nizhny Novgorod, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE