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Report: FCD’s Pareja interviewed for vacant USMNT job

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Earnie Stewart said earlier this month that he intends to hire the next U.S. men’s national team head coach by the end of the 2018 calendar year, which means the USMNT general manager needs to get a move on.

[ MORE: USMNT, Schalke MF McKennie injures leg in loss to Bayern ]

According to a report from the Dallas Morning News, the interview process is underway after FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja was interviewed by U.S. Soccer representatives — the report doesn’t list Stewart specifically — while in Vancouver ahead of the Hoops’ MLS game against Vancouver Whitecaps.

Pareja is someone who has been rumored and coveted as a long-term candidate for USMNT boss, largely due to his preference for, and history of, working with and playing young talent with the first team.

[ MORE: Walker Zimmerman has interest from Premier League, Europe ]

FC Dallas released the following statement following Monday’s report:

“The entire FC Dallas organization, including Oscar Pareja and his coaching staff, is solely focused on finishing the MLS regular season strong and putting us in the best position possible for a long playoff run.”

USMNT, Schalke MF McKennie injures leg in loss to Bayern

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GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie was injured in the Bundesliga game against Bayern Munich and had to be helped leaving the pitch on Saturday.

The 20-year-old American received an unintentional kick in the leg from James Rodriguez as he won possession from the Colombian star. While the free kick was awarded, McKennie was unable to continue and he was replaced by Nabil Bentaleb in the 54th minute.

Bayern was leading 1-0 at the time.

McKennie, who has six appearances for the United States, missed Schalke’s defeat to Borussia Moenchengladbach last weekend after returning from international duty with a bruised knee from the Americans’ 1-0 win over Mexico in a friendly.

McKennie has made 26 league appearances for Schalke.

USWNT: Tobin Heath’s time is here with World Cup looming

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Less than a year ago, Tobin Heath lamented that being injured was the “worst thing in the whole entire world.”

Now healthy, the midfielder for the Portland Thorns and the U.S. national team looks like she’s having the time of her life.

[ MORE: Tim Howard part of group that now owns 5th-tier English club ]

“I feel like it’s been nice for me to be out on the field for a while now,” she said. “I always try to get better and better and improve my game. I never feel like I’ve reached it. I’m also in a great place to find my best form here in Portland. I’m supported by amazing people, so I get the freedom to be able to grow and improve as a player because of the people around me.”

Heath and the Thorns host a National Women’s Soccer League semifinal match against the Seattle Reign on Saturday. Portland went 12-6-6 this season to capture second place in the nine-team league, behind the North Carolina Courage.

The other semifinal, between the Courage and the Chicago Red Stars, was originally scheduled for Sunday in Cary, North Carolina, but because of Hurricane Florence it was moved to Tuesday night at Portland’s Providence Park. The championship game is set for Sept. 22 in Portland.

Heath spent the better part of last year dealing with injuries, and in January she had ankle surgery. The timing of the procedure was crucial because the national team needed a healthy Heath for World Cup qualifying this fall.

[ MORE: USMNT beats Mexico on Tyler Adams’ first int’l goal ]

She came back in late April and has since regained her form as one of the top players in the world. She ranks third on the Thorns with seven goals but leads her teammates with seven assists.

“Sometimes I zone out watching what she’s doing on the field and I have to get myself back into it,” said Lindsey Horan, Heath’s teammate on both the national team and the Thorns.

Heath has also had an impact on the national team so far this year as the United States prepares for World Cup qualifying in October and the chance to defend its title next year in France.

Known for her footwork and dribbling skills, Heath was the national team’s Player of the Year and the NWSL’s MVP in 2016.

She had a goal and two assists in the U.S. team’s last game, a 4-0 exhibition victory over Chile in San Jose, California, earlier this month.

Her play drew the praise of former teammate Heather O’Reilly.

Now 30, Heath made her debut with the senior national team in 2008. She’s a three-time Olympian, earning gold medals with the team in 2008 and 2012. If the United States makes the field for the 2019 World Cup in France, it will be her third.

[ MORE: What did we learn about USMNT this international break? ]

The match against Chile was her 138th appearance with the national team. She has 21 career goals and 33 assists. Since working her way back from injury, she has three goals and four assists as well as four straight starts.

Heath has been with her club team, the Thorns, since the NWSL’s first season in 2013. Portland won the league championship in the league’s inaugural year, then again last season.

She’d like to add another.

“I always say we’re a championship team, so we’re built for these types of moments,” she said. “The season has been interesting with all its ebbs and flows and different periods we went through together. But the team is strong and we’re collected. With that, I think there’s anything we can deal with.”

Tim Howard part of group that now owns 5th-tier English club

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Tim Howard has been revealed as one member of a group of investors which now owns London-based Dagenham & Redbridge.

[ MORE: Premier League preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Liverpool ]

The longtime Everton and U.S. men’s national team goalkeeper, along with the rest of his Victoria Road Football LLC partners — Peter B. Freund and Craig Unger — recently purchased the majority of shares in the fifth-division English club.

The group announced this summer that Memphis 901 FC — where Howard now lives during the offseason — will debut in USL in 2019. Freund also own the Memphis Redbirds, the AAA (baseball) affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Quotes from Sky Sports:

“When I first visited Victoria Road this summer for a friendly against Cambridge, and having come back for the match against Hartlepool, I was captivated by the incredible passion shown by the Daggers supporters.

“I consider my ability to come in and help this club, which has roots dating back to the 1880’s, as a privilege and will do everything I can to solidify it this season and give us a chance to return to the Football League in the future.”

[ MORE: Top Premier League storylines for Week 5 ]

Freund was reportedly interested in purchasing a stake in Championship side Aston Villa in the summer, before an Egyptian company owned by the Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris swooped in ahead of Freund.

Brazil’s Tite: Trump should be “more informed” before speaking about us

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U.S. president Donald Trump made a flippant, off-hand comment about the Brazilian national team two weeks ago, and it didn’t sit well with Brazil boss Tite.

[ MORE: UEFA preparing third club competition alongside UCL, UEL ]

Trump, who during a glorified public-relations event at the White House quipped at a reporter that Brazil “had a little problem last time,” was swiftly reminded of Brazil’s five world title when Tite was questioned about the American president’s joke during a press conference on Monday. It is the standard response anyone would receive from any Brazilian — yes, including even the national team coach — upon making a defamatory comment about the Selecao.

One can only assume that the “little problem last time” is a reference to this summer’s World Cup, when Tite’s side was knocked out by Belgium in the quarterfinals, to which anyone who has watched a second of soccer in the last 11 months would respond, “How did the U.S. men’s national team do?”

Speaking about Neymar, who — at the age of 26 — is suddenly closing in on Pele’s record of 77 goals for Brazil, Tite backed his superstar and firmly supported the idea that he deserves everything he achieves — quotes from Goal.com:

“All these records are important. I believe the athlete seeks this within the context. But also have that recognition. Having recognition is not a sin, growing up is no sin, be star is not a sin, have technical skills is not a sin. …

“Neymar has important and extraordinary records. And he also has a solidarity side that he will gradually show.”