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Reports: Bastian Schweinsteiger in talks with Chicago Fire

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Manchester United’s out of favor midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger is said to be in talks with the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer.

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Schweinsteiger, 32, has been ruthlessly cast aside by new United boss Jose Mourinho since he arrived at Old Trafford in the summer, with the former German national team captain not playing a single second in the Red Devils’ new regime and forced to train on his own until recently.

That has led to reports circulating widely about the Bayern Munich legend leaving United in January and it is reported by the BBC, among other, that he met with Chicago’s head coach Veljko Paunovic in Manchester over the past few days as the duo were spotted leaving the same restaurant.

It is believed that a move to MLS is far from imminent for Schweinsteiger, however with MLS Commissioner Don Garber previously stating their interest in Schweinsteiger and the player himself talking positively about moving to North America to finish his playing days, it seems very likely.

There is still plenty to sort out but it is unlikely United will request a transfer fee for Schweinsteiger as they’re eager to get his $190,000 a week wages off their wage bill.

Would MLS pay Schweinsteiger that kind of cash? Probably. Given his name, his pedigree and the fact that he was playing regularly in the Premier League last season (he was okay, not great but not bad) and captained the German national team at EURO 2016, it seems like a solid deal for everyone concerned. Plus, he’d be younger than when Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo arrived in MLS.

Why is Chicago at the top of the list to acquire Schweinsteiger?

Well, they have a somewhat ridiculous “Discovery Claim” on Schweinsteiger which, in MLS rules, means they discovered Schweinsteiger and therefore have first right of refusal to sign him before other teams. Yep. Still with me?

That said, with so much flux among the big-name Designated Players in MLS following the conclusion of the 2016 MLS season, it may be in Schweinsteiger’s best interests to wait it out and see if he’s wanted at New York City FC, LA Galaxy or maybe even new boys Atlanta United. Given Chicago’s recent struggles in MLS (they haven’t made the playoffs for four-straight seasons) he may fancy a move to LA or NYC.

Both NYCFC and the Galaxy currently have some open DP spots with Lampard confirming his departure from the Big Apple club, while Gerrard is expected to formally announce his departure from LA in the coming days, plus Robbie Keane’s future at the Galaxy is also up in the air.

Schweinsteiger will have options when he is allowed to transfer out of Manchester United in January, but joining Chicago is a coin-flip. Will he be a star in one of the biggest media markets in North America or struggled to find form as the Fire struggle to get back among MLS’ elite?

Carlos Vela scored a celestial goal. We are blessed to have seen it

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Carlos Vela is making all other spectacular individual MLS seasons look run of the mill.

I mean, look at the gumption on this guy.

[ VIDEO: Rooney sent off, Kamara scores golazo ]

The Cancun-born playmaker left the San Jose Earthquakes back line on the beach with a soft shoe routine to give LAFC its third goal in a 4-0 win on Thursday

Vela, 30, now has 25 goals and 11 assists in 25 league matches for LAFC this season. He added two goals and an assist in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play.

But this one, yeah, this one takes the cake.

First, there’s Vela’s non-chalant dummy before picking up the pass.

Then, there’s Florian Jungwirth’s body language during and after his being cooked with a nutmeg. That’s an entire mood.

Next, Vela dribbles around the keeper and allows a slide tackler so glide past him before finishing with aplomb, the magic touch his going near post as if to say, “Can I beat this guy a second time, or do I have to use the easier route?”

Diego Rossi also had a goal and an assist, while Mark-Anthony Kaye continued his strong season with an assist to ex-Fiorentina prospect Joshua Perez. It’s a first MLS goal for the California-born Perez, now 21.

WATCH: Rooney sees red for forearm shiver, Kamara scores golazo

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Midweek MLS provided plenty to talk about on Wednesday, with two red cards and a golazo in one match alone.

The two main talking points from the New York Red Bulls’ 2-1 win over DC United weren’t really part of what led the victors to three points.

[ MORE: Europa League preview ]

How? Well, one of the world’s marquee names earned a red card via VAR and a returning star scores an absolute stunner, that’s how.

Here’s Ola Kamara’s debut marker for the Black-and-Red, adding to a record which included 49 goals in 97 matches between Columbus and the LA Galaxy before moving to the Chinese Super League for a wildly disappointing time with Shenzhen FC.

All of that is forgotten.

As for the Rooney incident, the Red Bulls already led 1-0 when DC’s star striker went forearm shiver on Cristian Casseres Jr.

It’s the second red of the season for Rooney, who is set for Derby County in January.

Amro Tarek was later sent off for the Red Bulls, who moved ahead of DC in the standings. Kaku and Daniel Royer had RBNY’s goals.

Newcastle takeover could be back on if in holiday relegation battle

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How much do Newcastle United supporters dislike their owner Mike Ashley right now?

Enough that this report is likely to condemn many to hoping their favorite club in the world is in the Bottom 3 come Christmas.

[ MORE: Europa League preview ]

The Chronicle’s Mark Douglas speculates that Ashley will lower his asking price for the club if it is in a relegation fight come December — something that looks certain after the Steve Bruce-led Magpies got bossed around by promoted Norwich City.

Nothing But Newcastle transcribed Douglas’ chatter from his podcast, in which he says,

“It wouldn’t surprise me if we hear more in December because there are still people sniffing around that football club and if the team are in the bottom three, there’ll be people thinking they can get a bargain out of Mike Ashley again. … He will probably more open to listening to lower offers in January and December which is what happened last December. He was basically saying ‘take it off my hands, you now have to take the risk’'”

This is notable for two reasons. First: the social experiment of wondering how many fans could see themselves rooting for their team to take a major and perilous back step just to see the back of a man they perceive is at the root of their failures (and that perception is widespread in this case).

But second, we can see if this rumor comes true because it’s difficult to imagine Newcastle as comfortably mid table by Christmas.

Fan protests and anger are nothing new, but here’s an effort to show how wobbly Ashley’s reputation is on Tyneside: Fans have taken to selling a black and white striped shirt with player name and number but no sponsor just so they can have a Newcastle jersey that doesn’t put money into Ashley’s pockets. And this is after he broke the club’s transfer record twice in one year.

If we’ve learned anything from the past few seasons, though, it’s that boycotts and anger will spur Ashley into insisting that he’s willing to sell and just conveniently enough it will be before the January transfer window. He “won’t be able to buy any players” with the takeover in play, and talks will hit a wall come late January, when they’ll loan a couple young players from Top Six sides.

Yes he spent significant money on Joelinton, Allen Saint-Maximin, and others this summer, but one decent window doesn’t make a culture. Count us amongst the skeptical, for now.

Messi back in training, could be fit for Betis

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Lionel Messi was back in full training again on Wednesday and may be fit to face Real Betis in the Spanish league on Sunday.

Messi had been training separately from the squad since injuring his right calf in the preseason.

He missed the team’s 1-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao in the league opener on Friday.

Barcelona has not said how long it expects Messi to be sidelined.

[ MORE: Europa League preview ]

Coach Ernesto Valverde is also dealing with injuries to forwards Luiz Suarez and Ousmane Dembele.

Dembele is certain to miss Sunday’s match at the Camp Nou because of a left thigh injury that should keep him out for about five weeks.

Suarez also isn’t likely to play this weekend because of a muscle injury sustained before halftime of Friday’s game in Bilbao.

Two-time defending champion Barcelona hadn’t loss a league opener in 10 seasons.

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