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Justin Kluivert smart to choose Roma over Man United, father says

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With a last name like Kluivert, there will always be plenty of open doors for 19-year-old Justin to explore during his professional career.

[ MORE: Pogba’s agent hits back at critics, dares Man United to sell Pogba ]

While that’s certainly an asset and an advantage that might not be afforded to every young player in the game, it also complicates things to a greater degree. Some clubs — typically the bigger ones — might fancy a player like Kluivert, the son of prolific Dutch striker Patrick Kluivert, because he comes with a certain level of name recognition.

Rather than ascending so quickly and reaching the top of the game at such a young age, players without a famous name often make two or three — and sometimes more — moves up the ladder, each time rising to a new level with each new club, placing a priority on playing time and development, before landing with a Barcelona, a Real Madrid, a Bayern Munich, or a Manchester United. The more levels a player is tested and proven at before signing for one of these giants, the more certainty that exists on all sides of the transfer equation.

[ MORE: Messi not among Argentina’s Sept. call-ups; int’l future in doubt ]

Back to Kluivert, who just this summer faced this very dilemma. Man United were reportedly interested in bringing him to Old Trafford from Ajax, but thanks to his prior exposure to the inner-workings of the game — and a bit of sound advice from his father, one would assume — Kluivert choose to make a more gradual step up in competition when he signed for perennial Champions League qualifiers Roma instead.

His father, now 42 and assistant coach for the Cameroon national team, could not be more pleased with and proud of his teenage son’s maturity and decision making — quotes from Goal.com:

“I’m very satisfied with what he is doing. He doesn’t speak much, but he is someone who knows how to listen and is motivated, I would have liked to stay in Ajax for another year, but he chose for himself. I think Roma is a good solution.

“A jump to the Premier League would have been difficult… I think United would have been too big a jump. Roma is an important club, but the pressures are lower.

“Roma must not win by force and it is a club that is used to good football. It is the ideal place for Justin right now. Then, who doesn’t dream of Barcelona? But Italian football is catching up and Justin can take advantage of it.”

Those mega-clubs will still be there after Kluivert has spent a couple — or a few — years at Roma and shown he’s not only good enough to compete in the Champions League, but ready to move to club that’s competing for the Champions League.

Kluivert marked his Serie A debut with an assist in Roma’s dramatic win over Torino on Sunday. After breaking down the right wing, it was Kluivert who lofted the ball into the box and found Edin Dzeko to set up the Bosnian’s technically perfect strike in the 89th minute.

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.