Major League Soccer MVP Mike Magee still holding out in Chicago

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For a guy barely recognizable to most domestic soccer fans through most of his professional career, Mike Magee sure has made a lot of news over the last few months.

His inspirational goal-scoring tear nearly rescued an entire club’s season, his big run at the Golden Boot, his involvement in the high profile Robbie Rogers trade, his ability to land league MVP honors on a club that didn’t even make the playoffs (a rare feat) and a growing call for U.S. national team attention meant 2013 was a year the domestic soccer world at large gained far greater awareness of the versatile midfielder-forward.

And now, we are hearing about Magee for some less benign reasons.

We don’t see the word “holdout” too often in Major League Soccer, but here we are.

Long story short: the team is in Tucson – Magee isn’t.

Even if holding out as a negotiating tactic remains a seldom-deployed weapon in the MLS man’s typical arsenal, it really cannot surprise anyone in Magee’s case. This piece from last December cleverly noted that the league’s reigning MVP, at a salary of close to $200,000 and signed up through 2015, is making about the same money as an Olive Garden manager. (Note to self: look into career opportunities at Olive Garden, as they apparently pay far better than journalism.)

The team did acquire allocation money from Philadelphia on Monday in the trade that sent young defender Austin Berry to the brotherly land of the cheesesteak. So perhaps something is in the works to increase the man’s wages while also buying down some of the salary cap hit.

By the way, the team says officially that Magee is taking some personal time. And if you believe that, you probably will never make it as an Olive Garden manager. Because those guys and girls are apparently pretty sharp.

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 2

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Layla Anna-Lee has a new show and, well, it’s unbiased. At least occasionally…

In the second episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, Layla Anna-Lee looks at the best moments from the first set of matches in the 2018 World Cup.

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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.

Brazil waste Coutinho’s stunner, draw Switzerland in opener

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Brazil started brilliantly and raced out to an early lead, but the five-time World Cup winners — and one of a handful of favorites in 2018 — disappointed in the end as they settled for a 1-1 draw with Switzerland in the two sides’ Group E opener.

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Philippe Coutinho opened the scoring after 20 minutes, turning home a stunning strike from distance, off the inside of the post, to settle any early nerves and give Tite’s Selecao a 1-0 lead (WATCH HERE).

It wasn’t Brazil’s first golden scoring chance of the game, though, as Coutinho and Neymar combined down the left wing to send the latter into space inside the penalty area. Neymar played a first-time cross into the six-yard box, but Paulinho‘s scuffed effort from close range was tipped around the post by Yann Sommer.

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A bit of complacency and real lack of urgency washed over Brazil as soon as they went ahead, affording Switzerland every opportunity to get back in the game.

Vladimir Petkovic’s side needed just five second-half minutes to draw level, thanks to some shoddy set-piece defending by Brazil. Steven Zuber took up a spot at the near post, virtually unmarked inside the six-yard box, and headed past Alisson.

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The game’s most controversial moment came just after the 70-minute mark, when Gabriel Jesus was bear-hugged inside the penalty area. Wrapped up from behind, the Manchester City forward was blatantly prevented from getting to the ball after a quick passage of smooth build-up, but referee Cesar Arturo Ramos Palazuelos was unmoved and no video review was enacted.

By the full-time whistle, Brazil had piled up 21 shots (just four on target) compared to just six from Switzerland (two). Despite on-target efforts from Neymar and Renato Augusto inside the game’s final five minutes, a winner wasn’t on the cards and the sides were forced to split the points.

Up next for Brazil is a clash with Costa Rica on Friday, while Switzerland will face Serbia the same day. The Serbs topped the Costa Ricans in Sunday’s first game, putting them top of the group after after the first of three rounds in Group E.

Video: Coutinho’s curler has Brazil flying early

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It took 20 minutes for the Selecao to get on the board, but Brazil looks every bit as good as advertised.

Tite’s side struck nearly halfway through the opening stanza when Barcelona star Philippe Coutinho curled his shot from distance off the inside of the post against Switzerland.

The Brazilians came close on several occasions prior to Coutinho’s opener, but the 26-year-old made good on the misses with his first career World Cup tally.

El Tri may have caused small earthquake back in Mexico City

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It was impossible to ignore the magnitude of Mexico’s 1-0 win over Germany on Sunday, and it apparently caused waves all over the world.

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Although a large contingent of El Tri fans were present in Moscow, Russia for the team’s win over the defending World Cup champions, it wasn’t comparable to the scenes back home.

Supporters were reportedly so enthused by the match that it’s quite possible they started a minor earthquake in Mexico City.

The earthquake reading came at 11:32 am ET, right around the time when Hirving Lozano gave El Tri the lead over their Group F opponent.