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Phoenix, San Diego heavily in MLS expansion race

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The reality of rounding out a 28-team Major League Soccer could be closer than we think, and commissioner Don Garber gave a slight indication of a few cities that appear to be in the final mix to become teams 27 and 28.

[ MORE: Garber “hopeful” Crew can find resolution in Ohio ]

With FC Cincinnati, Nashville SC and David Beckham’s Miami club set to join MLS over the next two seasons, MLS will near its capacity, which has previously been stated to be capped at 28 clubs.

The biggest question remains; which cities will be granted the final two spots in MLS?

When speaking to the media on Monday ahead of Wednesday’s MLS All-Star Game against Juventus, Garber suggested that three cities are firmly in the mix for the two expansion slots.

“We’ve had some interesting conversations with Phoenix of late,” Garber said. “We’re tracking very closely with our friends in San Diego and they have a key vote coming up in the fall. The Sacramento bidders will be here, they’ve come to the last number of big MLS events. They remain encouraged on finalizing their capital structure.”

Phoenix Rising has quickly made a name for itself in USL with player/owner Didier Drogba among the main reasons why the club has succeeded so quickly.

Meanwhile, San Diego would become the fourth MLS side to be based in California if selected, as the bid is led by San Diego Padres owner Peter Seidler and also features support from former U.S. Men’s National Team star Landon Donovan.

The San Diego bid is not affiliated with 1904 FC, which had planned to debut in NASL in 2018, and features a star-studded ownership group that includes Eden Hazard, Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye.

The California capital of Sacramento remains firmly in the mix as well, after failing to beat out Nashville and Cincinnati, however, they’ll have another heated battle with both Phoenix and San Diego, as well as potentially Detroit, Charlotte and Las Vegas.

USMNT remains perfect, tops Panama to win group (video)

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In his first start since the U.S. Men’s National Team’s infamous defeat to Trinidad and Tobago, Jozy Altidore showcased his strength, speed and technical ability to help lead the U.S. to victory.

Altidore’s outstanding bicycle kick goal proved to be the difference in a sometimes dour game as the USMNT topped Panama, 1-0, Wednesday evening at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan. The win kept the U.S. perfect through the Gold Cup group stage with no goals allowed, and it has somewhat erased the memory of the USMNT’s horrible run-up to the tournament, with defeats to Jamaica and Venezuela now firmly in the rear-view mirror.

[MUST-SEE GOAL: Jozy Altidore]

With the win, both teams head to Philadelphia for the quarterfinals this Sunday. Panama plays the undercard matchup against Jamaica while the USMNT faces Curacao.

Must-See Goal: Jozy Altidore puts USMNT in front with Bicycle Kick

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Jozy Altidore put his stamp on the game and gave U.S. Men’s National Team coach Gregg Berhalter more to speak about with one fell swing.

Altidore finished off a corner kick in spectacular fashion, executing a perfect bicycle kick to put the USMNT up 1-0 in the 66th minute. The goal came one minute after the entrance of Christian Pulisic, which perhaps was on the mind of the Panama defense.

It was Altidore’s second-straight game vs. Panama with a goal. His last two were in October 2017, when the U.S. pummeled Panama, 4-0. Of course, a few days later, a tired USMNT failed to win at Trinidad and Tobago.

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.