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Kenny Saief — from UEFA Champions League to USMNT?

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Kenny Saief is the latest dual-international waiting by his phone, hoping for a the life-changing call from Jurgen Klinsmann inviting him to join the U.S. national team.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

If you’ve never heard of Saief, don’t worry, you’re surely not alone. Just 21 years old, Saief is a versatile midfielder who plays his club soccer for Belgian side Gent, who last week qualified for the knockout stage of the 2015-16 UEFA Champions League. Saief, who was born to a Druze family in Panama City, Florida, and moved to Israel at the age of three, played 304 of 540 minutes for Gent during their just-completed group stage campaign.

Speaking to American Soccer Now, Saief recently indicated that, amid frustrations over not receiving a call-up to the Israeli national team despite being a regular starter for the reigning Belgian champions and Champions League round of 16 competitors, he would seriously consider a call-up to the USMNT, thus permanently tying him to the U.S., given his many appearances for Israel at various youth levels.

“I knew from someone that the United States was scouting me. If I get a call from the United States, I think I would probably play for them. Which team is better at football? I think the United States is better. They play almost every four years in the World Cup. As a footballer they are better, I think.”

“At the end it’s my decision. If I would say that the best for me would be to go to the United States, for sure I would decide to go to the United States. I respect everything from my father and I loved him. Maybe he had his own plans for the future to be on the Israeli national team, but maybe I feel that I really can do it and be a national team player for the United States.”

As relayed by ASN, Saief is a left-footed midfielder who prefers to play wide on either the left or right side, but has also frequently played centrally and occasionally at left back. A U.S. Soccer spokesman recently confirmed that the federation is aware of and has been scouting Saief.

[ MORE: UEFA Champions League last 16 full draw results ]

Given that the Belgian domestic league plays through the winter months, Saief is unlikely to be called into, or allowed to attend, the USMNT’s upcoming January training camp, despite the annual practice typically serving as an introduction to the program and a springboard for younger players to the first team. Instead, Saief will perhaps have to hope a string of strong performances earns him a call-up to the first team during a FIFA international window — either for World Cup qualifying or the 2016 Copa America Centenario — or to the U-23 national team for Olympic qualifying playoff in March.

FOLLOW LIVE, Gold Cup: USMNT closes out group v. Panama

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It’s a fully-changed starting XI for the U.S. Men’s National Team as it closes out the group stage against Panama at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

Omar Gonzalez and Matt Miazga start together in the backline, Jozy Altidore returns to the starting lineup up top, and Jordan Morris and Jonathan Lewis feature on the wings alongside Altidore. Ten of the 11 players now ply their trade in MLS, including the Gonzalez, who recently moved to Toronto FC.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: USMNT takes on Panama in Kansas City]

Hit the link above to follow along for the next two hours, and check back on PST for a full recap and in-depth analysis after the final whistle.

Must-See Goal: Wayne Rooney v. Orlando City

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I’m going to go out on a limb and say it. Wayne Rooney just scored the most amazing goal in Audi Field’s young history.

In the 10th minute of D.C. United’s match against Orlando City SC on Wednesday evening, Rooney noticed Orlando’s Brian Rowe straying way off his line. And so, with an audacious but accurate attempt, Rooney let fly from 65 yards and SCORED. Just check this goal out below.


Rooney took advantage of a crazy bounce and with his literal first touch, unleashed a thunderbolt that Rowe couldn’t catch up to. It automatically becomes one of the top contenders for the MLS Goal of the Year, and should make it on every top ten countdown this evening and tomorrow.

Benfica: Atletico Madrid make $143 million bid for Felix

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The legend of Joao Felix appears to have reached full market value potential.

The 19-year-old Portuguese striker is coming off a breakout year for Benfica, and now the Portuguese giants have received an impressive $143 million offer from Atletico Madrid for Felix. The club confirmed the offer in a statement on its website, stating it was analyzing the deal. Felix has a $136.5 million release clause in his contract, but it appears the additional $7 million is in processing costs.

[READ: Kroos wants to retire at Real Madrid]

Felix was outstanding at Benfica last year, scoring 15 goals with seven assists in 26 league games and three goals and one assist in five Europa League game. Felix has already made his international debut for Portugal.

If confirmed, Felix would become the fifth-most expensive transfer in world history, and the second-most expensive transfer for a teenager behind Kylian Mbappe.

AFCON: Nigeria 1st team through to round of 16 at African Cup, joined by host Egypt

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CAIRO (AP) Former champion Nigeria became the first team to reach the last 16 at the African Cup of Nations after defender Kenneth Omeruo‘s second-half goal delivered a 1-0 win over Guinea on Wednesday.

The Nigerians were unimpressive in the first half in Alexandria but lifted their game in the second. Alex Iwobi‘s rasping shot was pushed away by Guinea goalkeeper Ibrahim Kone and Ahmed Musa almost set up Odion Ighalo on a counterattack.

The former Chelsea defender Omeruo did what the forwards had not been able to do when he beat Kone with a glancing header at the near post off Moses Simon’s corner in the 73rd minute.

Nigeria, which won the title in 2013, has two wins from two games in Group B. It beat Burundi 1-0 in its first match and now needs a draw from its last fixture against Madagascar to finish top and stay in Alexandria for the last 16.

There was more good news for Nigeria when Samuel Kalu came on as a substitute near the end. The midfield player collapsed at a training session the day before the first game, suffering from dehydration, and was hospitalized.

Coach Gernot Rohr rested captain John Obi Mikel against Guinea.

Elsewhere, Egypt also confirmed a place in the knockout stages with a 2-0 win over the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ahmad Elmohamady and Mohamed Salah each scored in the first half to lead the Pharoahs to victory, the hosts second-straight win in the competition.

In the other match of the day, Uganda tied Zimbabwe, 1-1.