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PL roundup: Saints go marching up; Chelsea close in on 4th

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in the Premier League…

[ MORE: Southampton a point from safety | Chelsea two points back of 4th ]

Southampton 2-1 BournemouthFULL RECAP

If Southampton are to stave off relegation this season, Saturday’s south coast derby triumph over Bournemouth will likely be remembered as the turning point. Saints entered the weekend in 19th place, four points behind 17th-place Swansea City. Thanks to Dusan Tadic‘s brace (WATCH HERE) at St. Mary’s Stadium, and Swansea’s narrow defeat to Chelsea, Southampton now occupy 18th place and trail the Swans by a single point. On May 8, the next-to-last game of the season for both sides, Swansea host Southampton.

Liverpool 0-0 Stoke CityFULL RECAP

One could call Liverpool’s scoreless draw with 18th- (now 19th-)place Stoke a hangover after the emotional toll of Tuesday’s Champions League semifinals first-leg thrashing of Roma, but in truth the Reds were their typically dominant selves, only without the precision and final touch which have come to define their campaign. Having out-shot the Potters by a margin of 20-5, Liverpool managed just two shots on target (1 for Stoke) while holding more than 72 percent of the game’s possession. Jurgen Klopp‘s side sits third, four points clear of Tottenham Hotspur, who now have two games in hand.

Swansea City 0-1 ChelseaFULL RECAP

Cesc Fabregas scored the game’s only goal, in the 4th minute, as fifth-place Chelsea continued their mini-revival (three straight wins) and their bid to reel in Tottenham and realize an unlikely top-four finish. The gap between the London powers is just two points, though Spurs have a game in hand, which they’ll play at home against Watford on Monday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com), on the Blues.

Crystal Palace 5-0 Leicester CityFULL RECAP

Either Claude Puel‘s Leicester players are already on a beach for the summer (a top-10 finish is all but mathematically guaranteed), or Roy Hodgson convinced his Palace players that every team below them in the PL table would win every game they play for the rest of the season thus they needed one more (truly emphatic) victory to secure their top-division status for next season (they now sit 11th, six points clear of the drop zone). Either way, the Eagles made light work of the 10-man Foxes, courtesy of five different goalscorers delighted the Selhurst Park faithful.

Burnley 0-0 Brighton & Hove AlbionFULL RECAP

Burnley’s bid to usurp Arsenal for a top-six finish likely came to an end on Saturday. It was already a long shot (four-point deficit to make up, having already played one more game), thus a scoreless draw with Brighton leaves Sean Dyche‘s men three points behind the Gunners with only two games left to play (Arsenal have four).

Huddersfield Town 0-2 EvertonFULL RECAP

Huddersfield are probably safe, given the fact that both Swansea and Southampton would have to make up two- and three-point gaps in order to leapfrog them and see the Terriers to fall to 18th, but a point (or all three) at home against Everton would have put to bed any lingering fears. Alas, Cenk Tosun and Idrissa Gueye scored to all but lock the Toffees into an eighth-place finish following a disastrous start to the season which looked headed for a relegation battle for a number of months.

Newcastle United 0-1 West Bromwich AlbionFULL RECAP

West Brom beat Newcastle to delay the inevitable, their relegation to the Championship, courtesy of Matt Phillips‘ 29th-minute winner. Even still, the Baggies are five points from safety with just two games left to play. The next time they drop two points (or Swansea win two), they’ll be gone.

Sunday’s PL schedule

West Ham United vs. Manchester City — 9:15 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com
Manchester United vs. Arsenal — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Monday’s PL schedule

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Watford — 3 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Atletico Madrid roster for MLS All-Star Game includes Felix

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Major League Soccer fans will get a good luck at one of the hottest prospects in world soccer when the MLS All Stars take on Atletico Madrid in next week’s MLS All Star Game.

Joao Felix, the $142 million 19-year-old, is among the roster announced by Diego Simeone for the match.

[ MORE: Newcastle in for $28M Saint-Maximin ]

Felix scored 20 times with 11 assists in 40 matches for Benfica before moving to Atleti in the summer. Those numbers include a hat trick against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League quarterfinals first leg.

The other stars will be there, too, provided no transfers happen in the interim. Koke, Thomas Lemar, Diego Costa, and Saul Niguez are in the squad.

New Atleti defender Kieran Trippier and longtime El Tri hero Hector Herrera will also be sure to help drive attendance in Orlando City.

The full roster is here.

Leagues Cup preview: MLS gets its next shot at Liga MX

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It’s not a typo; The s is very real.

The Leagues Cup — not the League Cup — is the new competition pitting Major League Soccer sides against some of the top sides from Mexico’s Liga MX.

The tournament has been expanded before it’s even seen a ball kicked in competition, as the second edition with go from eight to 16 teams.

[ MORE: Newcastle in for $28M Saint-Maximin ]

For now, though, we’ve got four American and four Mexican sides meeting over the next two months in a bid for North American supremacy not unlike a CONCACAF Champions League stripped of all the minnows.

Much like the CCL, the Mexican sides will be expected to triumph, even with all of the quarterfinals being staged in the United States.

Chicago Fire hosts Cruz Azul on Tuesday, followed by the LA Galaxy’s visit from Club Tijuana.

Wednesday will see the Houston Dynamo host Club America, and Tigres UANL at Real Salt Lake.

The winners meet Aug. 20, while the final will be played Sept. 18 in Las Vegas.

There’s a lot of promise in this, and it gives MLS another chance to make some statements about the distance between it and Liga MX. The Mexican sides have flat out dominated the CCL, and it’s not difficult to make the same prediction for this tournament.

But, like many tournaments, it also gives success-starved clubs a chance to give their fans something big and their players a tonic. For Bastian Schweinsteiger‘s Chicago, for one, it’s a huge opportunity. And for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the Galaxy, it’s a look toward another piece of silverware for one of the world’s biggest trophy cases.

USMNT prospect Ledezma earns praise from van Nistelrooy

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Even for talents of the highest levels with top soccer education, sometimes a kid’s gotta learn how to eat.

Richard “Richie” Ledezma, 18, is in the midst of his first year at Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven, a spot which beckoned after a five-match, one-goal season in the USL with Real Monarchs of the USL.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

Ledezma starred for U.S. U-20 team at the World Cup after his first half-season with PSV, which saw him play with the U-19s while trying to lose some weight.

From Goal.com:

“PSV help me with my nutrition, with my food and how I eat. It’s the quantity of food you eat, I guess,” he added. “Because I came a little chubby, when I got here, I guess. They all called me ‘fatty’ and stuff, so I was like, cool, you know? So no more McDonald’s.”

Goal’s James Westwood had a wide-ranging interview with Ledezma and also spoke with soccer royalty: longtime Real Madrid and Manchester United scorer Ruud van Nistelrooy was Ledezma’s coach with the U-19s.

“He’s making a difference in midfield with very quick-thinking passes, movement, can score a goal, play people in, he’s creating chances for the whole team.”

That’s not just good praise from a legend, but a solid sign for fans of the United States men’s national team. A proper No. 10 or playmaking midfielder could allow Gregg Berhalter or another future USMNT coach to use Christian Pulisic on the wings.

Ledezma has some work to do before he breaks into the first team of the Dutch runners-up, who have signed former Stoke City man Ibrahim Afellay and has Gaston Pereiro in the fold as well.

Newcastle reportedly in for $28M mercurial Nice attacker

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L’Equipe says that Newcastle United have returned to Nice in the hopes of landing Allan Saint-Maximin.

The Ligue 1 outfit wants $28 million for the playmaker, who could team up with Miguel Almiron and (maybe) Joelinton to give the Magpies a much-improved attack.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

Saint-Maximin, 22, has 10 goals and 10 assists across his last two seasons with Nice, and played everywhere in attack for Patrick Vieira: both wings, center forward, second striker, attacking mid… even some left and right midfield.

The player, however, has been a headache for Vieira at times, with the manager saying Saint-Maximin believes that he has enough talent to reach the highest level without the required amount of work.

That said, the youngster’s skill set is electric. He’s a March birth date, too, so a relatively young 22. That $28 million would be another transfer record broken for Newcastle, assuming it happens ahead of the Joelinton move.

Or… as Newcastle fan knows, neither could go through.