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Burning question: Which soccer stadium do you have to visit?

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This week at ProSoccerTalk we will be asking some burning questions we have when it comes to the beautiful game and the first one focuses on something we all love: a stadium.

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Each day we will release a burning question, as now seems like a good time to take stock of where the game is at and take a look at what we love and what we’d like to change as we await its return following the suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

First question: What is one stadium you have to visit in your lifetime?

We are talking specifically for a soccer game here. What is one stadium you have on your bucket list and why?

Want to hear mine? Of course you do.

Well, I checked one off my lengthy list back in 2016 as I went to the San Siro to see Southampton against Inter Milan in the UEFA Europa League and I have to tell you, when I saw that stadium for the first time it was one of those moments when the hairs literally stood up on the back of my neck and my jaw dropped. As a kid I had a huge book full of the best players, stadiums and managers in history and would flick through it front to back night after night and I always paused on a photo of the San Siro in awe. Dreams became reality.

It was a foggy day in November and the four pillars of the brutalist structure ascended into the clouds and dominated the local skyline like the Coliseum. With very few buildings around it, that further reinforced how iconic of a stadium the San Siro. With plans to demolish it announced recently, I’m glad I got to visit it when I did, even though the plans to tear it down may be delayed or changed such has been the public outrage.

So that’s one ticked off the list.

In terms of the others, Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu and Boca Juniors’ La Bombonera in Buenos Aires are others, so too is Rangers’ Ibrox home in Glasgow and Borussia Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion. In short, I have a lot of stadiums I want to visit in the coming years and I’m sure you do too and have discussed this very question at length in soccer bars across the USA.

And you’ve been letting us know across our social accounts too.

 

Let us know in the comments section below the ONE stadium you have to visit in the soccer world and why, and it doesn’t have to be a mega-stadium. What about those incredible small stadiums you see in Norway tucked away in the fjords? Or a wild atmosphere in eastern Europe or central America?

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MLS still plans to play full 34-game season

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Atlanta United President Darren Eales says MLS still intends to play a full 34-game schedule this season, even though the league will be shuttered for at least two months because of the new coronavirus.

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Eales says Major League Soccer is more fortunate than other leagues around the world that play the traditional fall-to-spring schedule and may have trouble completing their seasons in such a compressed time frame.

MLS was just two weeks into its season when play was halted March 12 because of the pandemic. The league has set a tentative return date of May 10, though the growing death toll in the United States could force that date to be pushed back.

Eales says everything is on the table, including the possibility of resuming league play in empty stadiums.

“We’re fortunate that we had just started our season,” he said Monday during a teleconference with Atlanta media. “We have the whole calendar year to reschedule the games we missed. The emphasis is on playing all 34 games plus the playoffs.”

MLS will likely schedule more midweek games and push back its MLS Cup championship game into mid-December in a bid to play a full season, according to Eales. He added that the playoffs could begin in mid-November – around the time MLS had been planning its title game.

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Coronavirus: MLS extends suspension of 2020 season

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The suspension of the 2020 MLS season has been extended to fall in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Major League Soccer released a statement on Thursday after previously suspending the season for 30 days due to the coronavirus pandemic, as they confirmed that the MLS season would not resume for the next eight weeks. That means the MLS season will not resume until May at the earliest.

Unlike leagues across Europe which will be battling against time to save the current campaigns before the 2020-21 seasons are set to begin, the 2020 MLS season has only just started and they are scheduled to play until November, so there is plenty of time to squeeze in games.

Below is the statement in full from MLS as they confirmed they are planning to push MLS Cup back to December.

“In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to postpone events involving more than 50 perople over the next eight weeks, Major League Soccer has extended the postponement of its matches during this period of time. MLS remains focused on playing the entire 2020 season and is evaluating all options, including pushing back the end of the season and playing MLS Cup in December, as the league did prior to the 2019 season.

“The league is also identifying other available dates. Throughout this process, MLS will continue to prioritize the safety of our fans, players, employees and partners and to coordinate with federal and local public health authorities as well as other sporting organizatons.”

Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez: ACL surgery went well

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Atlanta United star striker Josef Martinez says his ACL surgery was success.

Martinez posted a photo from his hospital bed following surgery to repair the ACL torn in the Five Stripes’ season opener versus Nashville SC.

He’s expected to miss six months, but the coronavirus suspension may not give him the chance to return to the club this season.

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According to the Associated Press, Martinez’s surgeon Freddie Fu is credited with saving Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s career following a 2017 ACL tear.

Martinez turns 27 in May. He’s had an explosive career in Atlanta, and had two goals and two assists in three 2020 matches spread between MLS and the CONCACAF Champions League.

He’s posted 90 goals and 12 assists in 103 matches for the Five Stripes following time with Torino, BSC Young Boys, Caracas FC, and FC Thun.

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In the midst of the humanitarian crisis we are all living through, in which more than ever we need to think about and take care of each other, just wanted to share that I'm blessed that my knee surgery today went well. I want to personally thank UPMC in Pittsburgh, doctors Freddie Fu and Volker Musahl (pictured), @atlutd , my teammates and most of all the city of Atlanta for the unconditional support. Also, everyone in Venezuela and around the world for the good wishes and support. God bless and protect us all in these challenging times 🙏❤️. En medio de todo lo que está padeciendo la humanidad, que nos tiene aferrados en cuidarnos, protegernos y orando por quienes más lo necesitan, quisiera hacer un paréntesis para anunciarles que gracias a Dios todo salió bien hoy en la operación de rodilla a la que fui sometido. Agradezco al Hospital UPMC de Pittsburgh; a los doctores Freddie Fu y Volker Musahl (foto); al @atlutd y a la ciudad por el apoyo constante; a mis seres queridos; y a todos ustedes mi gente querida de Venezuela y desde muchas partes del mundo por sus buenos deseos, muestras de cariño y darme fuerzas en la recuperación. Dios nos bendiga y proteja a todos por estos días que tanto lo necesitamos 🙏🏻❤

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Thierry Henry’s Montreal, Seattle’s Ibarra get clever with TP (video)

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Like the majority of us, MLS players are limited in his opportunities to find live soccer.

The (social) distance between them didn’t stop isolated Montreal Impact players and Seattle Sounders midfielder Miguel Ibarra from getting in some touches in a challenge inspired by Atlanta United boss Frank de Boer (and, really, a quality PR team).

Whether you call it juggling or keep-ups, you won’t deny that the “ball” is pretty clever given the coronavirus-challenged times.

Let’s begin in Quebec, where Thierry Henry led his men through juggling and “passing” (presumably) taped-up toilet paper rolls to each other via video on Tuesday.

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And let’s be real… Titi is the star with that classy pass.

As for Ibarra, the Seattle Sounders man is, however, proving to have quite sense of humor during his time at home.

The three-times capped USMNT midfielder filmed himself juggling a roll as well.

He was doing pretty well until his dog went all N’Golo Kante on him.

Ibarra turned 30 on Sunday, and had started both of his MLS matches since signing with Seattle.

He’s spent most of his career with Minnesota United, NASL and MLS stints of their existence broken up by time with Club Leon.

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