USMNT Preview: Team to take on South Korea has much to prove

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What will serve more as an audition than a tuneup for most of the current roster, Jurgen Klinsmann will get a bead on who he wants to bring to Brazil tomorrow.

The USMNT are set to take on the Korean Republic (South Korea) from the StubHub Center in Los Angeles tomorrow at 5pm ET.

With plenty of new faces in the camp, the result of this match is far from the most important thing, but certainly Jurgen Klinsmann will be searching for his best combination as well as position fits, and a result would follow if he can get a good overall performance.

Mike Magee will certainly be a player to watch for the US Men, with the 2013 MLS MVP one of the players with the most to prove ahead of Brazil.

Yet to earn his first cap for his country, Magee could fit into the ever-changing USMNT striker picture, but he will have to seriously impress Klinsmann in this one match, and even then it may not be enough.

Another exciting player to watch will be Mix Diskerud.  With the Norwegian youngster making a positive impression on the boss in recent months, Klinsmann will be inclined to play him this time out as the manager is surely more aware of what he’ll get from Graham Zusi and Kyle Beckerman come June.

It’s possible we also see the first caps for one or more of the brand new bunch, which includes DeAndre Yedlin, Michael Harrington, and U-20 captain Luis Gil in addition to Magee.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to say what players have impressed Klinsmann throughout this closed-doors camp, but the starting lineup tomorrow may give us a bit of a guide, and we will get a peek at what the German is planning for the USMNT moving forward.

For South Korea, their national team coach Hong Myung-Bo will be returning to the StubHub center for the first time since he retired with the Galaxy in 2004.  In fact, he was a player the last time these two countries played each other.

With the two sides meeting for the first time since 2002’s crazy World Cup group stage tie, in which Hong captained his country, the focus will be less on the final score and more on what either manager has in store for the summer’s big stage.

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

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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

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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

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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.