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AP: Portland Timbers celebrate MLS Cup victory

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Soccer City USA finally has a championship trophy.

The Portland Timbers and their fans celebrated the team’s first MLS Cup title on Tuesday with a parade through downtown Portland and a raucous rally at Providence Park.

Kids blew vuvuzelas, the Timbers Army supporters’ group sang, mascot Timber Joey brought his chain saw and star forward Diego Valeri filmed the festivities with a camera strapped to his head as thousands partied in a steady rain.

“This is massive! This is unbelievable,” striker Fanendo Adi said during the parade. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

[ MORE: Mourinho not worried about sacking ]

The Timbers defeated the Columbus Crew 2-1 on Sunday in Ohio. Valeri scored 27 seconds into the match for the fastest goal in MLS Cup history. Rodney Wallace added a quick second goal just seven minutes in and the Timbers held on for their first championship since joining Major League Soccer in 2011.

Back in October, there were fears that the Timbers might not make the playoffs let alone make it all the way to the title match. But Portland surged, going 6-0-3 in its last nine games in the regular season and playoffs.

Coach Caleb Porter and owner Merritt Paulson joined the players on a covered flatbed truck that navigated the crowd lining the street for the parade. When a reporter shouted questions to Porter about his thoughts, the coach put his hand over his heart. Porter came to the Timbers in 2012 after leading the University of Akron to an NCAA title in 2010.

The Timbers have been around since 1975 when they joined the NASL. Portland went to the Soccer Bowl championship match that year and despite falling to the Tampa Bay Rowdies, the city’s enthusiasm for the team earned it the Soccer City USA nickname.

“You were the pioneers, you paved the way,” Porter said of those fans that had been following the team since the start 40 years ago. “And without you we would not have a team in Major League Soccer.”

Said Portland Major Charlie Hales: “Good things grow in the Oregon rain.”

[ RELATED: Tuesday’s Transfer Rumor roundup ]

The Timbers tapped into Portland’s fierce civic pride, a hallmark of the Portland Trail Blazers’ fan base since the team won the NBA championship in 1977. Today, the Timbers have a sellout streak that has stretched to 90 straight homes games, and thousands remain on the waiting list for season tickets.

“This is you team! This is your team!” Paulson yelled at the fans who braved the rain for the rally.

The final victory of the year was not without controversy.

Just before Wallace scored, Crew midfielder Tony Tchani and several teammates stopped playing when the ball rolled several feet over the right boundary. Instead of a stoppage for a throw-in, Portland’s Darlington Nagbe kept going with the ball and sent a pass wide to Lucas Melano, who found Wallace for the diving header.

Kei Kamara, the Crew star who tied for the MLS regular-season lead in goals with 22, made it 2-1 in the 18th minute.

Another controversy? Timber Joey wasn’t able to bring his chain saw or the Timbers’ Victory Log into Mapfre Stadium.

Portland’s mascot cuts a slice off the log for every Portland goal scored at home, and the slice is presented to the player who scored. And while Joey and the log both made the trip to Columbus, the Crew hastily changed the stadium rules to ban both chain saws and “logs of any wooden variety.”

So on Tuesday, Timber Joey (Webber) cut the slices for Valeri and Wallace with the help of his beloved predecessor, Timber Jim (Serrill).

While the Timbers celebrated the win in Portland, on the other side of the country Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer wore a Timbers scarf on the House floor.

“Mr. Speaker, let me conclude by reminding all of America – and several places in Canada – that in case you didn’t get the hint with Timber Joey and his chain saw, there is no pity in the Rose City!” he said.

Report: Inter Miami first in line to sign USMNT’s Boyd

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Inter Miami’s first big signing could turn out to be a player who just announced himself to mainstream U.S. Soccer fans.

According to a report in The Athletic, Inter Miami has gained the discovery rights to sign U.S. Men’s National Team winger Tyler Boyd. The 24-year-old only recently came to U.S. Soccer’s attention due to only having played in friendly matches for the New Zealand National Team, and the New Zealander-American filed his one-time switch in May to be eligible for the USMNT during the Gold Cup.

[READ: Terry backs Lampard for Chelsea manager job]

He immediately opened his account with two goals against Guyana and five shots, two on target in the USMNT’s 6-0 thrashing of Trinidad and Tobago.

Boyd is currently under contract with Portuguese side Vitoria Guimaraes, but he’s played little for them since joining in 2015. He spent the 2017-2018 season with Tondela in the Portuguese Liga and then spent the last six months in Turkey with MKE Ankaragücü, scoring six goals in 14 games to help them stave off relegation. According to multiple reports, Boyd is down to the final year of his contract with Guimaraes, and it’s possible that he could be off to Turkey again – reports in Turkey state Besiktas is interested – or potentially elsewhere.

That’s where Inter Miami come in. With the club expected to launch in the 2020 season, it could sign Boyd this summer – as a Designated Player or use Targeted Allocation Money to pay down his salary and transfer fee – and loan him out for six months before beginning life in the Miami area when the team begins play next season. There’s plenty of precedent for this, including with what New York City FC did with Frank Lampard and to an extent, David Villa, as well as what FC Cincinnati did in a sense – signing Fatai Alashe and Fanendo Adi and loaning them to the team competing in USL in 2018.

Based on the little we’ve seen for Boyd, he would surely be a success in any system that gives him the freedom to attack down the wing and cut in, creating shooting lanes for him and his teammates. Of course, USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter may prefer for Boyd to play in Europe and test himself against a higher-level of opposition.

Terry: Lampard ‘will have an impact on young players and improve them’

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It’s not a surprise that John Terry is supporting his longtime teammate and fellow club legend Frank Lampard for the open Chelsea managerial role.

However, it is interesting why Terry thinks Lampard is right for Chelsea.

[READ: Derby County confirm Chelsea approach for Lampard]

With Lampard the bookies favorite to become the new Chelsea manager, Terry has come out in support of the former midfield great, stating that Lampard can finally fully open the pipeline between the Chelsea academy and the first team.

“For some time, perhaps only myself and Ruben Loftus-Cheek had come through the academy to become regulars and that has probably left many young players questioning their future,” Terry told the Daily Mail. “Callum Hudson-Odoi will be assured he has a big role to play at Chelsea. Having Frank in charge and the transfer ban will give young players throughout the academy belief that there is a genuine pathway into Chelsea’s first team.

“Frank and Jody have tremendous knowledge of the youth set-up. I guarantee they will watch as many Under-23 and Under-18 matches at Chelsea as possible and open potential opportunities for the academy players. In fact I think it will be an exciting time to see what can happen.”

Chelsea is currently appealing a transfer ban from FIFA for signing underage players, but even if the transfer ban is imposed this summer, the club has dozens of players out on loan that could potentially come into the first team. These include Mason Mount, who starred for Lampard at Derby County last season, and American defender Matt Miazga, though he still has a long way to go until he’s ready for regular Premier League matches.

Other players like Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori, Kurt Zouma, and Tiemoue Bakayoko could also potentially return to the club and add to the strength in depth.

Of course, some of Chelsea’s youngsters didn’t come through the academy, but with Eden Hazard gone, Hudson-Odoi and Loftus-Cheek out long term and a need for some fresh talent in attack – to go with Christian Pulisic of course, Terry believes that Lampard could trust, and empower, some young players as Chelsea looks to build on a third-place finish this year.

Report: FIFA to consider disciplinary actions for Cameroon after Women’s World Cup outburst

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It didn’t help that refereeing decisions had gone against them, but Cameroon’s meltdown at the Women’s World Cup could cost the team, and potentially the federation in the future.

Per a report in the BBC, FIFA has begun investigating Cameroon for “team misconduct, offensive behavior and fair play breaches.” Specifically, Cameroon’s players appeared to lose their emotions surrounding two incidents that involved video assistant referees, or the VAR.

[READ: Transfer Rumor Roundup]

In the first case, just before halftime, England’s Ellen White was initially ruled offside on a goal she scored, only for VAR to overturn the assistant referee and rule White’s goal could stand, because she was onside by about two feet. After that instance, Cameroon’s players appeared to make an on-field protest, and it wasn’t clear if the game would restart.

In the second half, Cameroon had a goal that was somewhat harshly disallowed after Ajara Nchout had scored to make it 2-1 for England and cut the deficit in half. Gabrielle Onguene, who played the pass into Nchout, was ruled by the VAR to be offside but only by the absolute slightest of margins, her heel.

Again, following this decision, players lost their emotions on the pitch and it took five minutes to restart the game.

Afterwards, Cameroon coach Alain Djeumfa criticized the officiating, calling the game a “miscarriage of justice” as Cameroon were knocked out of the World Cup.

England coach Phil Neville meanwhile said that he was disappointed with the match for all the young generations of fans watching, and it’s possible that FIFA is looking at it from this angle to potentially send a message that everyone must act professional on the field from start to finish, even if tempers run high.

Picking the Copa America knockout stage

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The Copa America has eliminated four nations, including the two Asian visitors, and now the stage is set for the final eight teams to battle for the title.

The field is wide open as the traditional powers Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and even perfect Colombia and Uruguay have all struggled at times in the competition. With that in mind, here are the picks for our PST writers, and as you can imagine, it’s all over the place in what promises to be an entertaining and exciting final eight. A potential Brazil v. Argentina semifinal matchup would be mouth-watering, while Colombia and Chile meet in the quarters in a matchup that tells you just how brutal this competition can be.

Who do you have going all the way in the South American tournament? Will Lionel Messi carry Argentina to his first major international title? Will James Rodriguez or Alexis Sanchez reignite their career? Can Luis Suarez best his Barcelona teammate and help Edinson Cavani to the crown?


Kyle Bonn

Quarterfinals:
Brazil def. Paraguay
Venezuela def. Argentina

Chile def. Colombia
Uruguay def. Peru

Semifinals:
Brazil def. Venezuela
Chile def. Uruguay

Final:
Brazil def. Chile


Joe Prince-Wright

Quarterfinals:
Brazil def. Paraguay
Argentina def. Venezuela

Chile def. Colombia
Uruguay def. Peru

Semifinals:
Brazil def. Argentina
Chile def. Uruguay

Final:
Brazil def. Chile


Daniel Karell

Quarterfinals:
Brazil def. Paraguay
Venezuela def. Argentina

Colombia def. Chile
Uruguay def. Peru

Semifinals:
Venezuela def. Brazil
Uruguay def. Colombia

Final:
Uruguay def. Venezuela


Nick Mendola

Quarterfinals:
Brazil def. Paraguay
Argentina def. Venezuela

Colombia def. Chile
Uruguay def. Peru

Semifinals:
Argentina def. Brazil
Uruguay def. Colombia

Final:
Argentina def. Uruguay