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FOLLOW LIVE: DCU host Montreal in race for 6th; Portland vs. FCD

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The end of the 2018 MLS regular season is officially under one month away — by one day, to be exact — which means it’s now or never for teams currently sitting either side of the playoff cut line.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: 7 games in MLS, beginning at 7 p.m. ET ]

D.C. United were bottom of the Western Conference — more than a dozen points out of the sixth and final playoff place — in mid-July, prior to the arrival of Wayne Rooney. Since Rooney’s debut, not only has England’s all-time leading scorer been the catalyst for the Red and Black’s unlikely turnaround, but midfielder Luciano Acosta has put up superstar numbers for two and a half months: seven goals and six assists in DCU’s last 11 games. They enter Saturday’s titanic clash with sixth-place Montreal Impact just five points below the playoff cut line, and could be as close as two when the final whistle blows at Audi Field

Over in the Western Conference, Saturday’s headliner is the final game of the day. FC Dallas reclaimed first place from Sporting Kansas City last week, and hope to apply all the world’s pressure before Sporting KC take the field on Sunday. A win over Portland Timbers would extend their lead to five points over Sporting. On the other side, Portland have slipped to fifth in the West — now behind the late-charging Seattle Sounders — and sit just two points ahead of Real Salt Lake, Sporting’s opponent on Sunday.

Tonight’s full MLS schedule

D.C. United vs. Montreal Impact — 7 p.m. ET
Columbus Crew SC vs. Philadelphia Union — 7:30 p.m. ET
Toronto FC vs. New England Revolution — 7:30 p.m. ET
Minnesota United vs. New York City FC — 8 p.m. ET
Houston Dynamo vs. San Jose Earthquakes — 8:30 p.m. ET
LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver Whitecaps — 10 p.m. ET
Portland Timbers vs. FC Dallas — 10:30 p.m. ET

Sunday’s MLS schedule

New York Red Bulls vs. Atlanta United — 1 p.m. ET
Sporting Kansas City vs. Real Salt Lake — 5 p.m. ET

Pique: Copa-losing Barca still “really hurting” from UCL exit

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Barcelona was the favorite to win La Liga, the UEFA Champions League, and the Copa del Rey for the majority of the season, but only claimed one.

Liverpool’s amazing comeback to beat Barca in the second leg of the UCL semifinals met Saturday’s loss to Valencia in the Copa del Rey Final to give Barca a league title alone.

[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard fee ]

Even with that La Liga advantage being decisive — Barca carried the table by 11 points over Atletico Madrid and finished 19 ahead of Real Madrid — there’s a very dour mood and promised change for the Camp Nou set.

And Gerard Pique says it all traces back to the loss against Liverpool. From The Liverpool Echo:

“I believe that if we had gotten through at Liverpool, we would have won the treble. We would have come here [to the Copa del Rey final] with a different mood, and I’m convinced we would have won the Champions League final, but that is football. We are really, really hurting.”

There are hints of a massive clear-out at Barcelona, with Lionel Messi and Pique two of the only safe bets to stay. When will Barca get over it?

Brazilian team tangles in locker room futmesa (video)

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It was defense versus attack in the Brazil dressing room.

Neymar and Gabriel Jesus squared off with international teammates Filipe Luis and Ederson in a game of futmesa/table soccer this week.

[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard fee ]

Neymar and Filipe Luis are used to be on different sides of the field from their time in La Liga, while Jesus and Ederson are teammates at Manchester City.

Brazil is hosting this summer’s Copa America and is the favorite to win its first tournament since 2007, when it claimed its fourth in five tries.

It’s really impressive stuff for us normal to subpar athletes, even if standard for those with such deft talent.

Quite a winner from Man City’s young striker.

Jovic could see himself in Premier League, Serie A

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Maybe Luka Jovic’s presumed move to Real Madrid won’t happen this summer.

Or at all.

[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard fee ]

The Eintracht Frankfurt striker has been tipped for a move away from the Bundesliga after another strong campaign, and taking the center forward reins from Karim Benzema at Real Madrid.

Several outlets reported the deal as done, but Jovic isn’t speaking that way (or at least the Serbian is throwing us off the scent.

From Goal.com:

“In terms of the physique, the Bundesliga is very demanding, but after the games against Chelsea or Inter Milan, I personally had the feeling that I could feel even better [playing] in the Premier League or Serie A. … The way the teams play there suits me better.”

Jovic scored 27 times in 48 appearances for Frankfurt, adding seven assists at the tender age of 21. Ten of those came in the Europa League, and we’re not talking about flooding the nets of minnows; Jovic scored against Chelsea (twice), Marseille (three), Lazio (two), and Inter Milan (once).

Report: Chelsea, Real $38M apart on Hazard

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How much for Hazard?

Real Madrid are willing to pay $127 million, no small fee, to bring Eden Hazard from Chelsea, but that’s well off the Blues’ evaluation according to Sky Sports.

Chelsea sees Hazard’s price as $165 million. Belgian writer Kristof Terreur told Sky that Hazard wants his future sorted by June 4.

[ MORE: Bayern wins double ]

The Blues’ superstar is entering the final year of his contract, and could begin negotiating with other clubs in January and leave on a free transfer.

Hazard turns 29 in January. He recorded 19 goals and 16 assists in 51 matches this season, his best output in a Blues uniform.

The report says Chelsea feels no pressure to sell Hazard, but it would be a surprise if it dug in its heels too deeply considering the state of the Belgian’s contract.

Even for Chelsea, letting over $100 million walk out the door is wild, and for all Hazard’s won with Chelsea there’s also been consternation under several managers and a more than occasional habit of disappointing on the table.