Bastian Schweinsteiger

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Late Schweinsteiger goal propels Fire over Impact (video)

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At 35-years-old, Bastian Schweinsteiger still has some fuel left in the tank.

88 minutes in, with the score tied at 2-2, the World Cup-winning defender proved to be the difference, rising and heading in a cross from Djordje Mihailovic’s corner kick into the back of the net. It’s his first goal of the season, but an important one as the Chicago Fire look to make a late push into the Eastern Conference playoff race.

The German star, who initially signed for the Fire in 2017, signed a one-year extension in late 2018, which ends in late December of 2019.

MLS All-Star Game preview: Joao Felix visits Florida

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Some of the biggest generational names of soccer will be in the lineup when the MLS All Stars face Atletico Madrid in Orlando on Tueday, but many eyes will be trained on a teenager.

$134 million teenager Joao Felix will be in the fold for Atleti on Wednesday in Florida, on the heels of a 1-goal, 2-assist performance against Real Madrid and ahead of a La Liga debut in August.

[ MORE: Lukaku, Dybala swap? ]

So while it’ll be pretty cool to see Diego Costa test the MLS All-Stars, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney and Co. go up against Diego Simeone’s stingy defense, there will be a special focus on a youngster getting as much international focus as any teen star not named Kylian Mbappe and Neymar in the past decade.

Once-capped by Portugal, Felix burst into stardom last season with Benfica. Felix scored 20 times in all competitions, including 15 in league play, and earned the big purchase from Atleti.

Now, he’ll show us what a 19-year-old megawatt potential can do against USMNT center back Walker Zimmerman, World Cup champion Bastian Schweinsteiger, and Atlanta United star defender Leandro Gonzalez Pirez.

And if Felix is supposed to be worried about going up against physical defenders, let alone La Liga’s stars, he’s not letting on (via AS):

“Nothing can stop me playing my football. I might not have a lot physically, but I have other things that the rest don’t have. And that will help me a lot.”

The match kicks off after 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

FOLLOW LIVE: Ten games to catch on busy MLS Saturday

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With MLS All-Star Week coming up, the remaining MLS weekend schedule is squeezed into Saturday, with no less than ten games on tap.

[ FOLLOW: MLS Scoreboard]

The Washington Post reported on Friday that Wayne Rooney is back with D.C. United after taking a few days to return to England with coach Ben Olsen’s blessing. That meant Rooney missed D.C. United’s 2-0 defeat to Atlanta United last weekend as well as their 8-1 thrashing (with mostly fringe players, to be fair) against Marseille in midweek.

Now, Rooney could be set to go up against former Manchester United Bastian Schweinsteiger and the Chicago Fire, which is looking to move up in the table and snatch a playoff place.

Meanwhile, coming off a dramatic 3-2 derby win over Los Angeles FC, the LA Galaxy now travel north to face the Portland Timbers. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is in stellar form, as seen with his three-goal display last week, but it will be interesting to see how he plays on the turf at the renovated Providence Park. The Timbers meanwhile have predictably seen their form turn positive since returning home, losing just once in their last seven games.

Follow along with us at the link above and stay tuned for more reaction and analysis post game here on PST!

Saturday’s MLS schedule

New England Revolution v. Orlando City — 7 p.m. ET
New York Red Bulls v. Columbus Crew — 7:30 p.m. ET
Chicago Fire v. D.C. United — 8 p.m. ET
FC Dallas v. Real Salt Lake — 8 p.m. ET
Houston Dynamo v. Seattle Sounders — 8 p.m. ET
Minnesota United v. Vancouver Whitecaps — 8 p.m. ET
Montreal Union v. Philadelphia Union — 8 p.m. ET
Toronto FC v. FC Cincinnati — 8 p.m. ET
San Jose Earthquakes v. Colorado Rapids — 10 p.m. ET
Portland Timbers v. LA Galaxy — 10:30 p.m. ET

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.

MLS Saturday Wrap: What we learned

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MLS is entering the dog days of summer, and some teams are separating themselves from the pack, while others continue to struggle, even at home.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Here’s a look back at some of Saturday’s MLS action.


Savarino makes a statement for RSL

There’s a lot of talk about Designated Players like Carlos Vela, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney, and for good reason. But one Designated Player people may need to pay more attention to now is Jefferson Savarino.

In just his second game back at Real Salt Lake from the 2019 Copa America with Venezuela, Savarino scored two outstanding goals and set up another as RSL trounced the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Union, 4-0. The Union didn’t do itself any favors defensively, with a ton of communication errors, but Savarino has that clinical finishing touch that teams spend huge money for. Finally in his third season in MLS, he appears to have taken the next step in his development – he’s still only 22-years old – and could lead RSL into a playoff run.

Mike Petke’s squad, with still plenty of season to go, sits in sixth place, tied with FC Dallas on 29 points. Watch out for Savarino to be a difference maker down the stretch this season.


Pozuelo, Altidore come up big for Toronto FC

There’s no doubt that Toronto FC fans are happy to see Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley back with their club.

With goals from Altidore and other Designated Player, Alejandro Pozuelo, TFC knocked off rival Montreal Impact, 2-0 at Stade Saputo, boosting itself back into playoff contention. Toronto FC is currently just above the red line for the playoffs, with 26 points, one ahead of Orlando City SC, which also won on Saturday to stay in the playoff hunt.

It has been a tough couple of months for TFC. Prior to Saturday, TFC had won just one in its last 11 games in all competitions, including six defeats. Even the win, a 3-2 triumph over Atlanta United, could have been a draw if Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez had scored a penalty kick deep into second half stoppage time.

And yet, Altidore’s free kick and Pozuelo’s natural finish could be a sign that this team is looking like a title contender again, ready to shed off the poor form and like a gazelle, race up the standings.


Columbus, Chicago continue to drop points

It’s a rough summer to be a soccer fan in the east-to-central Midwest. Specifically, if you’re a fan of the Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati.

FC Cincinnati won its second-straight game, this time at the expense of the Chicago Fire, though it’s still dead-last in the Eastern Conference standings, tied with Ohio rivals Columbus Crew on 17 points. The Fire themselves aren’t much better, with just 22 points this season, good for 10th place in the conference.

For FC Cincinnati, a rough season may have been expected, especially how the team operated in the offseason. But there was so much hope for the Crew and Fire, which has made 2019 even more deflating. After the fan-led mission to #SaveTheCrew was successful and Caleb Porter – a former MLS Cup winning coach – was hired, it looked like the Crew could really take a step forward this season after all the off-the-field drama from a year ago.

And yet, thanks to a season-ending injury for Federico Higuain and poor performances from Wil Trapp, Gyasi Zardes, Justin Meram (who has since been traded), Pedro Santos and many others, the Crew have been in the doldrums all season. It certainly didn’t help to lose Trapp, Zack Steffan – who was signed by Man City but loaned back for the first half of this season – and Zardes for the month of June, just to see them mostly come off the bench, if at all for the national team.

Chicago, meanwhile, signed coach Veljko Paunovic and Designated Player Bastian Schweinsteiger to new contracts this offseason, and acquired CJ Sapong, David Ousted, Francisco Calvo and the gem, Nicolas Gaitan.

Yet all these individual talents have yet to merge into a cohesive unit under Paunovic, and the Fire are looking once again at missing the playoffs for the seventh time in eight seasons. With Schweinsteiger likely gone after the season, will Paunovic walk as well, unable to turn around this once-proud club for the last 2 seasons?


Top Goals from Saturday

Jefferson Savarino

Jozy Altidore

Fanendo Adi (first league goal with FC Cincinnati)