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Reports: Bruce Arena to take over USMNT in wake of Klinsmann firing

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According to a number of reports across the United States media, including Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated and Ives Galarcep of Goal USA, have stated that U.S. Soccer has reached an agreement with current LA Galaxy manager and former USMNT head coach Bruce Arena, who will take over as soon as Tuesday.

Arena was the USMNT manager from 1998-2006, replacing Steve Sampson. He owns the most wins of any U.S. manager with 71, and he brought the United States to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup before losing 1-0 to Germany.

[ MORE: Jurgen Klinsmann fired as USMNT head coach ]

He takes over with the United States in last place in the Hexagonal round of World Cup qualification, after two consecutive losses to Mexico and Costa Rica, which proved to be the last straw for Jurgen Klinsmann, who was fired on Monday. It is unclear what the preferred length of Arena’s tenure will be, but many have speculated that his initial deal will be two years, handing him the reigns through the 2018 World Cup. Arena is seen by many as more of a short-term stop gap rather than a long-term solution.

The feeling is that with the early hole in 2018 World Cup qualifying, U.S. Soccer is focused less on long-term program development, and is instead focused on ensuring a spot in Russia 2018. Once that is accomplished, a more broad approach can once again be taken. Arena is seen as someone who knows the system, knows the players, and brings a deep passion that is desperately needed after lackluster performances.

[ MORE: Jurgen Klinsmann lacked respect for US fans ]

The 65-year-old Arena will bring a confidence and swagger to the US setup, something not seen during Klinsmann’s reign, with the German often remaining calm, cool, and collected through the ups and downs. However, he isn’t widely thought of as the talent identifier that is desperately needed down the road to ensure the talent pool continues to grow.

Other popular names brought up for U.S. head coach include Americans Peter Vermes, Jason Kreis, and Jesse Marsch. Others floated less commonly include Gregg Berhalter, Dominic Kinnear, Caleb Porter and Sigi Schmidt. Those same names will likely come up again should Arena only serve for a short amount of time.

For the Los Angeles Galaxy, they will now be left to pick up the pieces after losing their wildly successful manager. According to Fox Sports’ Rob Stone, they could promote from within and hire Galaxy II manager Curt Onalfo to the now-vacant senior team position.

Jurgen Klopp has some hot takes on the UEFA Nations League

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Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Jurgen Klopp loves tepid friendlies.

Of course, we’re kidding, but the Liverpool manager is not happy with the new UEFA Nations League, which has amped up matches during international breaks previously reserved for experimental XIs and low-key affairs.

[ MORE: MLS State of Play ]

With Liverpool losing several players to injury — albeit two during Africa Cup of Nations qualifying — Klopp was asked for his opinion on Friday.

The vociferous German did not disappoint. From The Liverpool Echo:

“They say ‘now we have proper games, real opponents and it’s better than having friendlies’, stuff like that. … Maybe people want to see (boxer Anthony) Joshua fighting every second night but it’s not possible. Nobody asks for it in other sports.

“Do we really want opera every night or every two months? That’s the question. We have to be careful. That’s all I said. I like competition of course but at one point someone has to step back and say ‘wait, they are players, I want to watch it, but if they don’t perform then I am angry’. How can we make sure they perform? That’s all I wanted to say.”

Now I’m all for more personalities like Klopp in sports, but I have to say this is about as poor a take as it gets. Do I want any event I watch, let alone pay to see, to be less intense? Nope. Not at all.

Do I like preseason matches, or dead rubber games late in the season? Only in-as-much as they are examples of sports I like. Sorry that your guys are hurt, Jurgen, but no one short of Liverpool fans and other club managers are giving thumbs up to your talk.

I mean, seriously, have you ever watched a game and thought, “I’m glad these guys or girls aren’t trying as hard as they can!” Doesn’t being less tuned into a game provide more chances for someone to get hurt.

I don’t buy it one bit. Anyone in Jurgen’s camp? I’m happy to argue in the comments section.

Reports: Atlanta seals deal for Pity Martinez, will head to club Jan. 1

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Atlanta United is still sorting out its Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup runs, but 2019 is also coming into focus.

[ MORE: MLS State of Play ]

Reports say that Argentine winger Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez will indeed be the star Atlanta signs to offset to presumed sale of Miguel Almiron, who may be moving to Arsenal amongst several rumored European clubs.

Multiple reports say the Five Stripes’ pursuit of Martinez has paid off, with the River Plate man ready to bring his flashy game to Georgia.

Martinez has 25 goals and 23 assists in 136 matches, and will reportedly cost Atlanta around $17.2 million. TNT Los Angeles says the move will happen January 1.

Martinez debuted for Argentina’s senior national team last month, and scored on debut against Guatemala. He ticks all the boxes for technical director Carlos Bocanegra and president Darren Eales.

MLS State of Play: The final playoff spots

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Major League Soccer’s playoff races still carry intrigue heading into the final two weekends of the season, but the midweek matches which threatened to either amp up the excitement or take it down a few notches fell decidedly in the latter category.

[ PL PREVIEW: Chelsea vs. Manchester United ]

DC, Seattle, and Real Salt Lake all won their matches, as only eliminated New England and Real have played more than 32 matches.

Here’s what still at play at the bottom of the East and West playoff pictures, with the latter going first:

Real Salt Lake puts its on Rio Tinto, then has to wait

Mike Petke’s men play their final match of the regular season on Sunday, nursing a four-point lead over the LA Galaxy. RSL’s opponents are equally desperate Portland, which has fallen behind Seattle in the race for one of two first round home matches.

Should Real win, it can not be caught by the Galaxy regardless of what Zlatan Ibrahimovic might have up his sleeve. It would put Portland in danger of missing the playoffs by losing out and seeing the Galaxy win both of their matches, as the second tiebreaker would decide it and LA would make amends on its current three goal disadvantage in differential on the virtue of simple math.

Oh, and Vancouver! The ‘Caps need to win out, have the Galaxy gain no more than two points, and have Real lose in Portland on Sunday.

Sunday
LA Galaxy at Minnesota United
Real Salt Lake at Portland Timbers
Vancouver Whitecaps at LAFC

Oct. 28
Houston Dynamo at LA Galaxy
Portland Timbers at Vancouver Whitecaps

Western
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
x – FC Dallas 32 16 9 7 51 39 12 10-5-1 6-4-6 57
x – Sporting KC 32 16 8 8 60 39 21 9-5-2 7-3-6 56
x – Los Angeles FC 32 16 8 8 65 48 17 9-6-1 7-2-7 56
x – Seattle 32 16 5 11 47 34 13 9-2-5 7-3-6 53
Portland 32 14 9 9 50 46 4 10-4-2 4-5-7 51
Real Salt Lake 33 14 7 12 55 55 0 11-4-2 3-3-10 49
Los Angeles 32 12 9 11 61 60 1 8-4-4 4-5-7 45
Vancouver 32 12 7 13 50 64 -14 6-5-5 6-2-8 43
Minnesota 32 11 3 18 46 65 -19 10-1-5 1-2-13 36
Houston 32 9 8 15 53 53 0 8-3-5 1-5-10 35
Colorado 32 7 6 19 34 62 -28 5-3-8 2-3-11 27
San Jose 32 4 8 20 48 69 -21 2-5-9 2-3-11 20

Let’s be honest: For seventh place Montreal to make the playoffs, the Impact need either DC United or Columbus to get a really bad team-wide flu.

The Impact are four points back of DC and five behind Columbus with two matches to go.

Columbus plays at Orlando City and home to Minnesota United. Orlando has a single win since May 16, while Minnesota has a win and two draws in 16 away matches this year.

DC is home to New York City and away to Chicago, so this is clearly the club Montreal will be seeing as its target. For as bad as the Fire have been, they’ve beat some decent teams at home (This is MLS, after all, where home teams run free).

So the Impact will want to win out, but at least get four points and hope DC loses out. The Impact is home to struggling Toronto in a derby match and away to New England. It’s not improbable it gets the points it needs, but will it get help.

Eastern
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
x – Atlanta 32 20 6 6 67 39 28 10-4-2 10-2-4 66
x – New York 32 20 5 7 60 33 27 13-1-2 7-4-5 65
x – New York City FC 32 15 8 9 55 41 14 11-4-1 4-4-8 53
x – Philadelphia 32 15 5 12 48 46 2 9-2-5 6-3-7 50
Columbus 32 13 9 10 39 41 -2 10-4-2 3-5-8 48
D.C. 32 13 8 11 57 49 8 12-2-2 1-6-9 47
Montreal 32 13 4 15 45 52 -7 10-2-4 3-2-11 43
New England 33 9 11 13 48 55 -7 7-5-4 2-6-9 38
Toronto FC 32 9 6 17 55 61 -6 7-2-7 2-4-10 33
Chicago 32 8 7 17 47 59 -12 6-3-7 2-4-10 31
Orlando City SC 32 7 4 21 41 72 -31 5-4-7 2-0-14 25

Unstoppable Jovic nets 5 as Frankfurt routs Dusseldorf 7-1

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BERLIN (AP) Luka Jovic was in unstoppable form, scoring five goals as Eintracht Frankfurt crushed promoted Fortuna Dusseldorf 7-1 in the Bundesliga on Friday.

The 20-year-old Serbian is the first Frankfurt player to score five goals in a league game.

After grabbing two goals and two assists in his past two matches, he continued his rich vein of form. Jovic scored twice in quick succession during the first half after Sebastian Haller opened the scoring with a penalty.

[ PL PREVIEW: Huddersfield vs. Liverpool ]

Haller scored his second goal of the game shortly after the break, and he also set up Jovic’s fifth goal with a deft chip over the defense which the forward headed home in the 72nd minute.

Frankfurt coach Adi Hutter took Jovic off a few minutes from the end, but only so he could get a standing ovation from the home fans.

Frankfurt climbed to sixth place on goal difference ahead of Bayern Munich – which has not won its past three league games and is at Wolfsburg on Saturday.

Dusseldorf dropped to last place ahead of the rest of the eighth round.

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