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Dealing with F.O.M.O. and a USMNT-less World Cup draw

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When the various legends of past tournaments begin pulling plastic balls filled with tiny pieces of paper from glass bowls on Friday, every American soccer fan will feel that familiar gut punch — again, and again, and again — as 32 nations learn their fates during the 2018 World Cup draw.

[ STREAM: Draw live, 10 a.m. ET ]

Welcome to our impending eight months of F.O.M.O., otherwise known as the fear of missing out.

We’ll work out the order of the 32 qualified teams, figure out where in the heap the U.S. national team would have landed — they’d occupy what is currently Sweden’s place as team no. 4 in Pot 3, in case you’re wondering — and convince ourselves we’d find a way out of the hypothetical group, no matter how stacked the odds might be.

It could have been as tough as: Germany, Spain, USA, Nigeria. If you’re more the optimistic type, a dream draw would have been: Russia, Peru, USA, Saudi Arabia. Most likely, though, it would have landed somewhere in the middle: Argentina, Switzerland, USA, Morocco.

As it turns out, none of it makes a lick of difference. It won’t make you feel any better. It doesn’t change a thing. Of course, it will hurt as old wounds are reopened and salt is rubbed in for the umpteenth time.

[ MORE: Pots for 2018 World Cup draw ]

Speaking as a fan of both the sport and my national team, it’s already abundantly clear that the F.O.M.O. factor is going to be deathly strong and painful for all of Friday.

Four years ago, I looked on in horror and felt the anxiety brought about by “the group of death” — drawn alongside Germany, Portugal and Ghana. But, at least we were headed to Brazil.

Eight years ago, with South Africa 2010 looming, England came calling, alongside the plucky up-and-comers from Slovenia and Algeria. From it was born E.A.S.Y., the greatest front-page headline in the sport’s history — only once we’d somehow finished top of the group, of course. Silly Brits, soccer is was for Americans.

The 2018 World Cup will go on with or without us.

[ MORE: PST’s 2018 World Cup draw roundtable ]

In the end, we’ll watch anyway, because the World Cup is a party that comes around once every four years. We’ll latch onto a trendy team — Iceland, Colombia, England or Belgium, or the country of our familial heritage — but it won’t be the same.

Every fourth or fifth day will pass sans the stress and agony, and we’ll tell ourselves that, actually, it’s easier to watch the World Cup without the burden of competing; that it’s somehow a useful exercise to watch from afar; that it’s better this way.

The tournament’s opening game is 196 days away, and these are the pathetic, feeble lies we’ve told ourselves. I miss the excitement and unwarranted confidence that come from the opening ceremony’s nonsensical musical and dance routines already.

Man City reveal squad for US tour

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Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City have announced their squad for their U.S. tour this summer.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match ] 

Pep Guardiola is without several first team stars as City had more players at the 2018 World Cup (16) this summer than any other team on the planet.

New club-record signing Riyad Mahrez will travel Stateside though, so too will Joe Hart, Claudio Bravo, Aymeric Laporte, Leroy Sane, Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy, with promising youngsters Patrick Roberts, Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz also included.

Former New York City FC star Jack Harrison will also be part of Man City’s traveling squad as he returns to American soil after starring in MLS over the past few years before his move to City and subsequent loan to Middlesbrough in England’s second-tier.

City have a busy schedule of games in the States as they kick things off on Friday against Borussia Dortmund in Chicago. They then travel to New York City and play Liverpool at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on July 25 before heading to Miami to play Bayern Munich on July 28 to round off their International Champions Cup action.

Take a look at the squad in full below.

Manchester City squad for US tour – 2018/19

Claudio Bravo
Joe Hart
Aymeric Laporte
Leroy Sane
Bernardo Silva
Benjamin Mendy
Tosin Adarabioyo
Riyad Mahrez
Patrick Roberts
Jason Denayer
Daniel Grimshaw
Oleksandr Zinchenko
Douglas Luiz
Jack Harrison
Lukas Nmecha
Phil Foden
Aro Muric
Eric Garcia
Nabil Touaizi
Brahim Diaz
Iker Pozo
Tom Dele-Bashiru
Benjamin Garre
Luke Bolton
Cameron Humphreys
Rabbi Matondo
Tyreke Wilson
Nathanael Ogbeta

Report: Liverpool in talks for Alisson

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It appears Alisson to Liverpool could be back on again.

A report from Di Marzio in Italy claims that AS Roma and Liverpool are in discussions over the transfer of Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson, with further reports from the UK stating Liverpool have offered $81 million for him.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match ]

Their star goalkeeper, 25, was the subject of interest from Liverpool and Real Madrid before the 2018 World Cup began but Brazil’s starting goalkeeper didn’t have an outstanding tournament and Roma’s previous $100 million asking price may now have dropped.

Real may well turn their attention to Thibaut Courtois considering his recent comments that he could leave Chelsea with just a year left on his contract. As for Liverpool, their need for a new goalkeeper remains urgent following Loris Karius‘ mistakes in the UEFA Champions League final and Simon Mignolet falling out of favor.

With Karius backed by Jurgen Klopp several times over the past few months following his UCL final meltdown, Karius has continued to make mistakes in preseason games which may have accelerated Liverpool’s search for a new goalkeeper.

Although both Jack Butland and Nick Pope may well be cheaper options and have Premier League experience, Alisson is highly-regarded for his displays in Serie A and for Brazil and he is not only good with his feet but also a fine shot stopper. I mean, you have to be some goalkeeper to keep out Manchester City’s Ederson as the starter for the Brazilian national team.

Wayne Rooney loving life at DC United

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Wayne Rooney is loving the quiet life in the United States of America.

The all-time leading goalscorer for England and Manchester United made his MLS debut on Saturday, coming on for the final 33 minutes as D.C. United won 3-1 against the Vancouver Whitecaps in their own debut at their new $500 million Audi Field home.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage

Rooney, 31, impressed in his brief spell on the pitch as DCU’s loyal fans celebrated a marque moment for the franchise in their new stadium and with a big-name Designated Player wearing the No. 9 jersey.

The former Manchester United and Everton man assisted Paul Arriola for D.C. United’s third goal and was involved in the build-up for their second as his clever touches and flicks impressed in his brief cameo. With 14 of their final 19 games of the season at their new home due to Audi Field opening on July 14, Rooney will be hoping to drag DCU up the Eastern Conference standings as they currently sit bottom.

Speaking to the Daily Mail around his arrival in MLS, Rooney lauded life off the pitch in the capital city as he hasn’t been recognized strolling through a mall or going to a coffee shop.

“I know I can relax a bit more. At home, you are looking over your shoulder and having to think to yourself, ‘What is going on there?’ You don’t know who is watching you and you have to be careful with what you are doing all the time,” Rooney said. “I think I can have a quiet life now and, when the children come over, I’m sure the time I get to spend with them in public will be a lot better now. It has been very easy to settle. I’ve been made to feel very comfortable. I’ve got freedom to be me, which hasn’t always been the case.”

And here is exactly why a move to MLS appeals to so many superstars who, like Rooney, have been followed everywhere for their entire career. Tales of Steven Gerrard hanging out at the beach with his kids and Thierry Henry jumping on the subway in NYC are plentiful as star players get the chance of that “freedom” Rooney talked about.

Rooney has been in the public eye for 16 years since he burst onto the scene as a teenager in the Premier League and now he’s enjoying the quiet life in the D.C. suburbs. Can you blame him?

With Zlatan Ibrahimovic loving the attention in LA and the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger and David Villa also seen out and about at events in Chicago and New York City respectively, Rooney will no doubt take on a similar role to interact with the sports community in D.C.

That said, it seems like he’s enjoying popping down to the local coffee shop and hanging out at the mall right now.

PHOTOS: Man United release new kit

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Manchester United have released their new home kit for the 2018/19 season.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match ] 

Jose Mourinho’s men have already unveiled a black away kit for the new campaign but as they prepare to play the first game of their U.S. tour on Thursday, their new home jersey is now available.

[ MORE: Sanchez to miss US tour?

Take a look at the video and photos below to get a feel for the kit.