Wambach inches closer, US women upend Korea Republic

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Abby Wambach wants to hurry up and break Mia Hamm’s all-time scoring record so that everyone will stop talking about the chase. In the waning moments of the United States women’s national team’s 4-1 win over Korea Republic on Saturday, Wambach capped off the scoring by finishing a penalty kick drawn by Alex Morgan.

That was goal 156. Two to go to tie Hamm.

Enough about that, though. Saturday night was a night of firsts for several U.S. women — a first goal, a first cap and yes, even a first for Wambach. Here are talking points from the win, with highlights:

Mewis gets her first: Kristie Mewis, a midfielder for FC Kansas City, playing left back on the evening (Kelley O’Hara had a “minor injury,” according to U.S. Soccer) scored her first international goal in the 3rd minute of the game. It was a dream scenario for the Hanson, Mass., native to score at Gillette Stadium, just minutes from where she grew up and where she played NCAA soccer at Boston College. Mewis is one of the bright young stars (22 years old) who has the versatility to play anywhere on the flank or pushed higher in the midfield. Here’s her goal:

Another Morgan on the field: University of Virginia midfielder Morgan Brian, still 20 years old and entering her junior year in the fall, earned her first cap with the U.S. when she entered the game in the 77th minute for Lauren Cheney (who scored in the 7th minute).

Wambach adds to the tally: Wambach had never scored against South Korea until Saturday. Of course, she had never participated in a game vs. the visitors, either, having been in recovery from a broken leg the last time the teams met for a three-game series in 2008. The goal means Wambach has now scored against 31 different countries. Here’s Wambach’s goal:

Solo returns: Hope Solo played in a U.S. jersey for the first time since Feb. 13 after recovering from left wrist surgery. She entered the game at the start of the second half, making a big save within minutes but seeing generally little action after that.

Also noteworthy: Carli Lloyd hit brought about some Olympic déjà vu. When on target, her shots are extremely dangerous from long range and she showed it again on Saturday with a low rocket from about 32 yards out. It’s worth a watch:

Next up the U.S. women face South Korea again on Thursday at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. and live on NBCSN and online on NBCSports.com’s Live Extra at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Yaya Toure talks future, wants to play with Paul Pogba

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There is very little debate: Yaya Toure is his own special case.

The longtime Manchester City midfielder does what he wants, flies his own flag, has the worst agent in the game, and is pleased or dismayed in unusual ways.

[ UCL: What would Real 3-peat mean? ]

Toure, 35, has been linked with a move to NYCFC now that he’s leaving Man City, but the Ivorian still wants to play two more seasons for a Champions League or Europa League club.

And he wants to get together with Paul Pogba. You can see where this is going… (from The Manchester Evening News):

“Pogba is the same size, power – but different in the way he wants to go. Technically as well, the ability to score goals as well. It is a player I want to play with, to be honest, just to teach him some things.”

That must mean both are going to Paris Saint-Germain because… Yaya at Manchester United? No way, right? Right? Even with last year’s reports from his — again — terrible agent that it was an option, that still seems too villainous.

“I don’t rule big teams out. The big teams are very important for me. What they want to achieve, the way they want to go, for me is very important. … I want to go somewhere I can win and achieve. It’s going to be hard one day to play against City, but I have to do that. It is part of my job.”

Toure later said he was “no good in an office,” which had us thinking, well, what if they properly celebrated your birthday, Yaya?

WATCH: Miami United midfielder unleashes Open Cup laser

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Tomas Granitto, have yourself an extra plate at the postgame buffet.

The Miami United midfielder scored a gorgeous goal in Wednesday’s 2-0 win over fellow NPSL side Jacksonville Armada in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup’s third round.

[ MORE: 3 Key Battles for UCL Final ]

Complete with aesthetically-pleasing post-ping, the former El Salvador U-20 player laid into a 25-yard shot to open the scoring in Florida.

Granitto, 24, has played for Timbers 2, Swope Park Rangers, FC Edmonton, since leaving NCAA side Florida Gulf Coast.

Rondon wanted by Atleti, Inter Milan, and West Ham

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The big boys are looking to Salomon Rondon as a bargain striker.

Yes, $22 million is a bargain in the striker market these days.

[ MORE: Napoli hires Ancelotti ]

West Brom’s Venezuelan international, 28, stands 6’2″ and has a relegation release clause that is reportedly interesting Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid, and West Ham United.

Atleti and Inter are in the Champions League next season, but Rondon played for new West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini at Malaga, posting 25 league goals in two seasons.

He’s scored 24 goals in three Premier League seasons at West Brom, almost a quarter of the 104 produced by the Baggies.

He also picked up three assists this season as the target man for Tony Pulis, Alan Pardew, and Darren Moore (and was fouled more often than any other Baggie (Baggy?)).

Rondon and Marko Arnautovic next to each other would be a real handful for PL defenses. Then again, maybe he’ll stay loyal to West Brom and set the Championship scoring record next season.

Three German organizers of 2006 World Cup indicted for tax evasion

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) Three German organizers of the 2006 World Cup have been charged with tax evasion linked to a payment to FIFA.

German news agency dpa reported that Theo Zwanziger, Wolfgang Niersbach and Horst R. Schmidt confirmed Wednesday they are indicted by Frankfurt prosecutors in a long-running investigation.

[ MORE: 3 Key Battles for UCL Final ]

They are accused of falsifying tax returns on behalf of the Germany soccer federation (DFB) in 2006. The DFB has already paid 19.2 million euros ($22.4 million) in back taxes. All three deny the charges, which were first reported by German daily Bild

The allegations are also being investigated by Swiss federal prosecutors and FIFA’s ethics committee. They have targeted German soccer great Franz Beckenbauer, who led the 2006 tournament organizing committee.

Beckenbauer, Zwanziger and Niersbach were members of FIFA’s executive committee in turn from 2007 through 2016.

In 2016, the DFB published an inquiry report into a complex payments trail including 6.7 million euros ($7.8 million) to FIFA in April 2005. Zwanziger and the DFB claimed the money was for a World Cup opening gala and therefore tax-deductible.

However, the payment went through FIFA and ended in a Swiss account belonging to former Adidas chief Robert Louis-Dreyfus, who died in 2009.

The inquiry report did not rule out, but could not prove, that votes were bought when Germany beat a Nelson Mandela-supported South Africa bid for the hosting rights in a 12-11 vote of FIFA executive committee members in 2000.

Swiss prosecutors said in 2016 they had opened a criminal proceeding against the four German officials the previous year, on suspicion of fraud, money laundering, criminal mismanagement and misappropriation. That case spun off from a wider Swiss investigation of suspected corruption linked to FIFA and World Cup hosting votes that is ongoing.

Niersbach lost his seat on FIFA’s ruling committee when he was banned for one year for failing to disclose possible unethical conduct.

The various investigations have tarnished the reputation of the 2006 World Cup that was a popular success in the host nation, which called it the “Summer Fairytale.”