Alex Morgan out, Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe in for tonight’s game in Nashville

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After suffering an ankle injury Saturday night in Jacksonville, Alex Morgan will miss tonight’s U.S. Women’s National Team game in Nashville, the second of a two-match series against visiting Scotland. The U.S.’s goal-scoring star was left out of head coach Tom Sermanni’s 18-woman team announced by U.S. Soccer last night.

Morgan’s left ankle was injured just before halftime of Saturday’s 3-1 win in a tackle with Scottish midfielder Jo Love. The 23-year-old immediately went down, was carried from the field by two members of U.S. Soccer’s training staff, and was replaced by Sydney Leroux.

According to U.S. Soccer, Morgan was able to train on Monday and Tuesday but is being withheld from the team for precautionary reasons.

Morgan’s absence will be balanced by the return of three regular starters, with three other camp invitees set to see their first game action under the new U.S. coach.

Hope Solo, who missed the match in Jacksonville with a slight calf strain, returns to the team. The team’s first choice goalkeeper likely starts ahead of Saturday’s No. 1, Jill Loyden. Nicole Barnhart, who played the second half of on Saturday, misses today’s 18.

Rachel Buehler and Megan Rapinoe missed Saturday’s game after being late arrivals to the Jacksonville camp. Rapinoe is returning from her duties with European champions Olympique Lyonnais while Buehler missed the start of camp for personal reasons. Both players, regular starters under Pia Sundhage, make Sermanni’s Nashville squad.

Defenders Crystal Dunn and Whitney Engen along with midfielder Lori Lindsey failed to make Saturday’s team but have been handed spots for tonight’s match at LP Field. Becky Sauerbrunn and Julie Johnston give up their from Saturday’s squad.

Along with Christen Press, who is off to an unsustainably great start to her national team career, Dunn and Engen will be players to watch.

Dunn, who helped lead North Carolina to last year’s national championship, is the reigning MAC Herman trophy winner. Only 20 years old, the defender has a chance to move into the picture ahead of Canada 2015. Tonight, she should see her first senior national team cap.

Engen, a North Carolina alum, was on the cusp of breaking through with Sundhage’s teams but always got caught in the numbers game. After impressing in WPS, she’s moved to England to help raise the profile of Liverpool FC’s women’s team. A central defender who can also play on the left, the 25-year-old Engen is closer to be regular contributor now.

Here’s tonight’s full roster, courtesy of U.S. Soccer:

GOALKEEPERS (2): 21-Jill Loyden (Sky Blue FC), 1-Hope Solo (Seattle Reign)
DEFENDERS (6): 19-Rachel Buehler (Portland Thorns FC), 27-Crystal Dunn (UNC), 28-Whitney Engen (Liverpool FC), 11-Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), 5-Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), 3-Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): 7-Shannon Boxx (Chicago Red Stars), 12-Lauren Cheney (FC Kansas City), 17-Tobin Heath (Paris Saint-German), 16-Lori Lindsey (Washington Spirit), 10-Carli Lloyd (Western NY Flash), 9-Heather O’Reilly (Boston Breakers), 15-Megan Rapinoe (Olympique Lyonnais)
FORWARDS (3): 14-Sydney Leroux (Boston Breakers), 22-Christen Press (Tyresö FF), 20-Abby Wambach (Western NY Flash) 

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

Photo by Burak Kara/Getty Images
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Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
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Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.

West Ham signs club record center back from Toulouse

whufc.com
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West Ham has reportedly set a club record with its latest signing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Issa Diop is the player, the 21-year-old Toulouse captain and center back costing the Irons around $29 million.

[ MORE: Arsenal signs Leno ]

Diop scored three goals with an assist and eight yellow cards in 31 Ligue 1 matches this season, giving the young defender 95 apps, six goals, three assists, and 23 yellows since debuting with the senior team at 18.

Capped by France at every level below the senior team, Diop’s 2.2 interceptions per game ranked sixth in Ligue 1.

Toulose finished 18th in Ligue 1, but won its promotion/relegation playoff to stay in the French top flight.

From WHUFC.com:

“I am very happy to sign for such a historic, English club, and I hope to show my best here. I am a very ambitious player and West Ham is a very ambitious club, as we’ve seen with the appointment of the new coach. I hope to help the team win lots of games and make the fans happy.”

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 3

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In the third episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England pulls out a massive win while VAR finds its way into the World Cup spotlight.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.

Click play on the video above to watch the first episode in full.