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Man United injury update; Major League Soccer “better than before”

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Manchester United have dispatched both LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake over the past 48 hours with most of Jose Mourinho’s men getting at least 45 minutes in each game.

Now, United are stepping things up with Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona to come in the next 10 days in the U.S.

[ MORE: Can Lukaku handle the pressure? ]

United’s win against RSL saw them once again use two teams for each half and although players reportedly struggled with playing at altitude at Rio Tinto Stadium and Antonio Valencia sent off controversially late on, Mourinho’s men rallied for the win with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Romelu Lukaku on target in the comeback 2-1 win. 

Following the game Mourinho gave an injury update on Juan Mata and Matteo Darmian, with the former suffering an ankle injury.

“Mata has a big ankle but hopefully nothing really important. I would say a few days, a week, something like that, in principle,” Mourinho said. “And Matteo Darmian I don’t think is even an important problem.”

The two keys from preseason games is the following: 1) don’t pick up injuries. 2) don’t pick up injuries.

So in that regard this friendly was far from ideal for the Red Devils but Mourinho has been pleased with the way United’s first two preseason games have gone against MLS opponents and has been impressed with not only the quality of play from both LA and RSL, but also the MLS stadiums.

“I think the quality [of the MLS] is better [than before],” Mourinho said. “I like to play in soccer stadiums. I know you have absolutely amazing [American football] stadiums that sometimes you adapt but I like the concept of the soccer stadium, even if it’s smaller. So I like it, I like the fans, I like the enthusiasm around and the quality is improving all the time, I think, so I am happy with that.”

Mourinho added that the team RSL put out for the first 35 minutes gave United a tough test, but Mike Petke was forced to make wholesale changes to his team with an MLS regular season game coming up at Portland Timbers on Wednesday.

There you have it. Mourinho is a fan of MLS, despite the trolling from LA Galaxy’s mascot Cozmo…

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.

[FOLLOW LIVE: USMNT v. Panama]

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.