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MLS weekend preview: Which road squads can defy the odds?

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Only one team is above .500 on the road in Major League Soccer this season, and that happens to be one of only three teams that have lost as many games as they’ve won at home.

So it goes in the parity-driven, massive-travel world of MLS.

We’d love to tell you that San Jose’s eighth place standing in the West means it won’t hold a candle to conference leading Dallas, or that L.A.’s rampant attack will win comfortably in Seattle.

[ MORE: Impact land Italian striker on loan]

But we’d have no right to hold those beliefs in a world where home teams, more or less, have had trouble not finding points.

In most leagues, there are precious few teams whose production isn’t similar at home than on the road. For every Sevilla, Newcastle, or West Ham, there are dozens of clubs that fall along the same fate at home as they do on the road, give or take.

What that also means, however, is that we have an excellent opportunity to use the standings table as a litmus test for who’s genuinely a strong team by taking victories on the road. There’s reason to believe in Colorado (just two losses from eight road games) and NYC (just one road loss in eight).

Who will defy the odds this weekend? A few selections:

Dallas at San Jose

These two foes met in the same spot on May 28, and neither side scored. Oscar Pareja and Dallas have had good luck against Dominic Kinnear sides dating back to the latter’s time with Houston, sweeping the season series. The Quakes haven’t won since May 11, while Dallas has one loss since that same date.

(AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)
(AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

Columbus at New England

Surely last season’s East champs aren’t as poor as their results this year, and the Crew will have a chance to prove it when they bring their winless road mark to Foxborough to face a New England team that is leaking goals and has only taken 13 of 27 points at home. The Crew have just two points from their last four games, while the Revs have lost three on the bounce.

Friday
Houston at Orlando, 8 p.m. ET
Dallas at San Jose, 10:30 p.m. ET

Saturday
L.A. at Seattle, 3 p.m. ET
DC at Philadelphia, 7 p.m. ET
Chicago at Toronto, 7:30 p.m. ET
Columbus at New England, 7:30 p.m. ET
Montreal at Real Salt Lake, 10 p.m. ET
Colorado at Vancouver, 10 p.m. ET

Sunday
Portland at New York Red Bulls, 6 p.m. ET
New York City FC at Sporting KC, 8 p.m. ET

PSG signs American defender Alana Cook from Stanford

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PARIS (AP) Paris Saint-Germain’s women’s team has signed American defender Alana Cook from Stanford University.

The 21-year-old Cook, who was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, has signed until June 2022. She was named the Pac-12 defensive player of the year this season for her performances with Stanford and has represented the U.S. at Under-20 level.

[ MORE: Atlanta signs Watford teen ]

She played 93 games and scored five goals for Stanford.

PSG’s women’s team is second in the French first division and sits two points behind five-time European champion Lyon after 15 rounds.

Cook says “I really wanted to play in a European club and to play against the best teams in the world.”

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

MLS notes: Zimmerman spurns Europe, Vazquez sold, DC youngster in remission

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Let’s sweep up some good, somewhat-expected, and wonderful news from around Major League Soccer.

DC United defender and Maryland product Chris Odoi-Atsem announced that he is in remission after a fight with Stage Two Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

[ MORE: Atlanta signs Watford teen ]

Odoi-Atsem was expected to undergo four months of chemotherapy, and the announcement comes just under three months into the journey.

At 23, Odoi-Atsem hopes to rejoin the team after his final round of chemo later this month. He was the 12th overall draft pick in 2017.

Another defender is extending his stay in Los Angeles.

USMNT center back Walker Zimmerman was a huge part of LAFC’s success as an expansion club following his arrival from FC Dallas, and was reportedly ready to test the waters of European soccer with interest from the Premier League, Ligue 1, and the Bundesliga.

But Bob Bradley pushed the right buttons and LAFC will have its 25-year-old mainstay back in the fold via a Targeted Allocation Money contract running through the 2022 season.

Finally, one of the key pieces to Toronto FC’s 2017 MLS Cup triumph is on his way out of Ontario.

Victor Vazquez is going to be sold to an unnamed Qatari club, pending a physical according to TSN’s Kristian Jack.

The 32-year-old scored posted 18 goals and 15 primary assists for TFC.

Transfer rumor roundup: Pellegrini to Man Utd? Dabbur wants Liverpool

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As Arsenal might be losing its head of recruitment, other Premier League movers and shakers are looking to bring big names to the Top Four fight.

If Northern Ireland is the hub for transfer movement, January is going to be a wild ride for one of the Premier League’s flagship clubs.

[ MORE: Atlanta signs Watford teen ]

The Belfast Telegraph is reporting that Manchester United is pursuing young Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini in addition to the whispers linking the club to former Liverpool wizard Philippe Coutinho.

Pellegrini, 22, has two goals and six assists for Roma this season, having become a regular call-up for Italy. He reportedly has a $35 million release clause in his contract, though he is cup-tied in the Champions League (Roma next faces Porto).

His 2.6 key passes per game lead Roma and only AC Milan’s Suso and Atalanta’s Alejandro Gomez average more across Serie A. Pellegrini is second on Roma in crosses with 1.5.

How does $115 million sound for an elite 27-year-old defender? That’s what Napoli would reportedly accept from Real Madrid to bring Kalidou Koulibaly west to Spain.

The report, which also links Real with interest in Roma’s Kostas Manolas and Porto’s Eder Miliato, says United remains interested in the player despite the exit of admirer Jose Mourinho.

Anything more than $97 million, the fee Liverpool paid for Virgil Van Dijk, would break the world transfer record for a defender.

Meanwhile, Israeli striker Munas Dabbur is angling to bring his 20-goal season to Anfield.

Reports that Dabbur has turned down a move to Valencia in the hopes of joining Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino at Liverpool.

The Red Bull Salzburg striker has scored half of his 20 goals in the Champions League and Europa League, and has 11 Israel caps.

The cost for Dabbur is said to be $28 million, but is there any guarantee Dabbur can produce at a level that would demand playing time. Divock Origi has three goals in six matches and can hardly get time for the Reds, and Daniel Sturridge has only found 576 minutes in the first half of the season.

Arsenal to reportedly lose head of recruitment Mislintat

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The man expected to usher in an era of exciting new young talent at Arsenal may be leaving the club after less than 14 months.

Arsenal head of recruitment Sven Mislintat, 46, has been hailed as the man who discovered Christian Pulisic and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang while at Borussia Dortmund.

[ MORE: Atlanta signs Watford teen ]

Well-connected reporter Raphael Honigstein says Mislintat is frustrated by a change in recruitment policy since Ivan Gazidis left the Emirates Stadium. Gazidis hired Mislintat to use analytics and stats to find diamonds, whereas new head of football Raul Sanllehi prefers to work his own network for players.

Mislintat is considered the key to bringing in Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi, as well as clear connections like former BVB center back Sokratis Papastathopolous.

His departure would be a shot across the bow of an organization which enjoyed stability under Gazidis and Arsene Wenger for years.