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Saief, Manneh extend FC Cincinnati’s impressive start

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FC Cincinnati looks like it isn’t the walkover many experts were predicting it’d be, extending its unbeaten run to three matches with a 2-0 win over defense-free New England on Sunday.

Kekuta Manneh and Kenny Saief set each other up for goals as the expansion side moved to 2-1-1 through four matches.

Brad Friedel‘s New England now has one point through four matches.

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Teal Bunbury nearly took advantage of slow-to-react-at-the-back Cincinnati but punched a wide-open look way over the frame.

And after Emmanuel Ledesma just missed with a few bids from distance, FCC made his threats proper foreshadowing albeit from in-tight.

USMNT winger Kenny Saief slotted ball into the mixer that Manneh slotted for 1-0 before halftime.

Cincinnati goalkeeper Spencer Richey made a pair of outstanding stops on Carles Gil and Diego Fagundez around the hour mark to keep the advantage in tact.

Saief made it 2-0 in the 65th minute, a disorganized Revolution losing track of the former Anderlecht man.

NYCFC may add prolific Brazilian center forward

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New York City FC is reportedly lining up a TAM deal for Brazilian center forward Heber.

[ MORE: How will USMNT line up v. Ecuador? ]

A prolific scorer from Croatian powers HNK Rijeka, Heder has 35 goals and 14 assists in 68 matches since arriving in 2016.

The 27-year-old played in Brazil until 2015, and has since played for Armenian side Alashkert Yerevan and Croatian sides Slaven Belupo and HNK Rijeka.

Croatia has the 16th highest UEFA coefficient, ahead of Poland but below the Netherlands for comparison’s sake.

NYCFC has drawn its first three matches of the season, getting two goals from Alexander Ring, and one each from Alexandru Mitrita and Ebenezer Ofori.

On video — and remember, these are highlight reels put together by agents and fans — Heber looks like an MLS equivalent of one of his Premier League countrymen: Richarlison.

WATCH: Maurice Edu gives retirement video the cartoon treatment

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USMNT midfielder Maurice Edu formally announced his retirement on Monday with a clever animated video paying homage to his family and career.

The video uses Kanye West’s “All the Lights” before ending with a clever nod to Notorious B.I.G. and an inspirational message.

Edu last played in 2017, appearing in three matches for the Philadelphia Union’s USL affiliate Bethlehem Steel.

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The 46-times capped Edu turns 33 next month and played with Toronto FC before moving overseas to Rangers in Scotland, where he scored a famous stoppage time goal in the Old Firm.

And infamously, Edu had a goal controversially ruled offside at the 2010 World Cup.

Injuries followed him the rest of his career, as Edu had trouble staying on the field in stints with Stoke City, Bursaspor, and Philadelphia. He won three league titles and three cups while in Glasgow.

Edu is now a broadcaster on UEFA Champions League coverage in the United States.

MLS Preview: FC Cincinnati hosts first MLS match

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As we reach week three of the MLS season, exactly half of the league’s teams are still looking for their first win of the year, including FC Cincinnati, which hosts its first-ever MLS match.  Below, we’ll preview the top three upcoming matchups on tap this weekend in MLS:

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]


FC Cincinnati v. Portland Timbers — Sunday, 5 p.m. ET

Major League Soccer fully arrives in Cincinnati this weekend, as FC Cincinnati hosts its first ever MLS game. Like its previous two games, this one will be no easy task for the expansion side, as it hosts MLS Cup finalists, the Portland Timbers. It’s a reunion for Fanendo Adi, who left the Timbers last summer to join FC Cincinnati in a trade between the two clubs, but it’s also a big test for the Timbers. Amazingly, the Timbers are winless in 22 consecutive matches when Diego Chara is out. The Colombian was sent off in last week’s rout at Los Angeles FC, putting his team behind the eight ball early in the season.

Chicago Fire v. Seattle Sounders — Saturday, 1 p.m. ET

Suddenly, with the acquisition this week of Nicolas Gaitan, on paper at least, the Chicago Fire look like they can be a playoff squad. Veljko Paunovic’s side features Bastian Schweinsteiger dropping deep as a centerback, Dax McCarty patrolling midfield, and then Gaitan, Alexander Katai and Nemanja Nikolic and this team has the spine and talent to make a deep playoff run. They’ll get a chance to test themselves against a team always in the playoff picture, and one that’s benefitted by the return of Jordan Morris. After routing FC Cincinnati and soundly beating the Colorado Rapids how will the Sounders respond to its first road match of the season?

D.C. United v. Real Salt Lake — Saturday, 8 p.m. ET

This game may have gone under the radar in the past, but both of these teams have four points from two games and are off to a hot start in the 2019 MLS season. It’s a return to D.C. for Mike Petke, who helped D.C. United win MLS Cup in 2004, while it’s also a chance to see Wayne Rooney against one of the best pair in MLS history, Kyle Beckerman in midfield and Nick Rimando in goal. Real Salt Lake’s young, Homegrown-filled squad could surprise D.C. in Audi Field, unless Rooney and Luciano Acosta have something to say about that.

Full MLS Schedule (All Times Eastern)

Saturday

Chicago Fire v. Seattle Sounders – 1 p.m.

Columbus Crew v. FC Dallas – 2 p.m.

Houston Dynamo v. Vancouver Whitecaps – 3 p.m.

New York Red Bulls v. San Jose Earthquakes – 3:30 p.m.

Orlando City v. Montreal Impact – 4 p.m.

D.C. United v. Real Salt Lake – 8 p.m.

LA Galaxy v. Minnesota United – 10:30 p.m.

Sunday

New York City FC v. Los Angeles FC – 3 p.m.

FC Cincinnati v. Portland Timbers – 5 p.m.

Atlanta United v. Philadelphia Union – 7 p.m.

Toronto FC v. New England Revolution – 7:30 p.m.

Colorado Rapids v. Sporting KC – 9 p.m.

Report: FIFA pushing for 24-team Club World Cup in 2021

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FIFA will try to push through a 24-team “test” Club World Cup at a meeting on Friday.

The AP’s Rob Harris reports that Gianni Infantino is about the stress the FIFA calendar by plugging a 2021 Club World Cup into the space reserved for the recently-canceled Confederations Cup.

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It would also present a sublime opportunity for the clubs of Major League Soccer, who’ve been serially foiled by Liga MX in the CONCACAF Champions League.

That means a June/July Club World Cup which would feature as many as eight European teams, six South American teams, three each from CONCACAF, Africa, and Asia, and one from Oceania.

It would run from June 17-July 4, 2021.

The tournament usually occurs with eight teams, one from each of seven confederations and an additional from a host. Recently, that’s been a Middle Eastern team.

The 2018 CWC included Real Madrid, Kashima Antlers, River Plate, Esperance de Tunis, Chivas Guadalajara, Team Wellington and Al-Ain.

So how could a 24-team look, based on how the Champions League-style competitions have played out recently? Consider what could’ve been the 2018 tourney:

Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester City
Manchester United
Juventus
Ajax
Porto
Barcelona
Bayern Munich
Palmeiras
Gremio
River Plate
Cruzeiro
Corinthians
Libertad
Kashima Antlers
Suwon Samsung Blues
Persepolis
Toronto FC
Chivas Guadalajara
Club America
Al-Ahly
Esperance de Tunis
1de Agosto
Team Wellington