ProSoccerTalk daily soccer re-set

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Soccer birthdays:

El Emperador, Claudio Suárez, turns 44 today. The former Mexican national team captain and defender for Pumas, Chivas, Tigres and (eventually) Chivas USA accumulated 178 caps over a 15-year international career. The three-time Gold Cup winner represent Mexico at the 1994, 1998, and 2006 World Cups.

Big Important Stories of the Day:

If last week’s activity was any indicator, expect the MLS trade winds to keep blowing. As the league’s offseasons get shorter and shorter (with players set to start camps next month), there’s less time for teams to makeover their their rosters. More teams making more moves in less time.

For English Premier League fans, expect the London papers to be rife with reaction to Chelsea’s Sunday loss to Corinthians in Japan. Europe may not take the Club World Cup seriously, but when it comes to scrutinizing Rafa Benítez, don’t expect columnists to pass up such low hanging fruit.

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day:

Nikolas Besgano

What you should watch on TV today:

Arsenal’s season could get a lot more interesting today around 5:00 p.m. Eastern, and not in a good way. At 3:00 p.m., the Gunners kick off at Reading, one of the worst teams in the Premier League. If Arsenal can’t take three points from the Royals, Arsène Wenger’s struggles could knock Benítez out of the headlines.

Twitter daps:

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We’ll leave you with this:

Some thoughts on the potential of Mix Diskerud, currently skipping around the United States, switching to Major League Soccer:

  • For a long time, people have been hoping MLS teams would make moves like this one. While it’s not official yet, it’s interesting that we’re approaching a time when teams may be willing to make the commitment to bring young, talented national team players back from their European sojourns.
  • But … how much do you think it’s going to cost Portland to convince Diskerud to forgo playing in Europe?

Ronaldo explains his new chin hair at World Cup

AP Photo/Hassan Ammar
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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

Adam Davy/PA via AP
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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

Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images
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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

Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
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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