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Around The Forest: MLS has named the four final cities for expansion

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Also: How does Seattle replace Roman Torres? ATLUD willing to crush transfer record, WNT will play Denmark in January and more!

Major League Soccer

Rumor: Atlanta United willing to smash MLS transfer record for 18-year-old Argentine playmaker - Dirty South Soccer
It’s that time of the year again. Silly season heating up and today we’ve stumbled upon a doozy of a rumor. It’s important to remember that with all transfer rumors, especially during the winter in MLS, should be taken with a grain of salt. However, Cesar Lusi Merlo, a news producer with TyC Sports in Argentina has tweeted out that Atlanta United are willing to pay a $14 million transfer fee for 18-year-old center attacking midfielder Ezequiel Barco from Independiente in the Argentine Primera Division.

With Elis out, Cubo Torres ready to help Dynamo overturn deficit at Seattle | MLSsoccer.com
The Dynamo dropped the first leg of the series 2-0 in Houston last week, putting themselves in a serious hole heading into Thursday’s decisive second leg at CenturyLink Field (10:30 pm ET; ESPN, ESPN Deportes in the US | TSN1, TVAS2 in Canada). The suspension of forward Alberth Elis, who had 11 goals and four assists on the year, due to yellow card accumulation will only make things tougher, but Houston have a solid option to replace him in Erick “Cubo” Torres.

Seattle Sounders evaluating options to replace suspended Roman Torres | MLSsoccer.com
Starting center back Roman Torres picked up his second yellow card of the 2017 Audi MLS Cup playoffs in the first leg of the series at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. That leaves him suspended for Thursday’s second leg in Seattle (10:30 pm ET; ESPN in the US | TSN1, TVAS2 in Canada) due to yellow card accumulation.

Armchair Analyst: A Best XI of players who became available Monday | MLSsoccer.com
Monday was Roster Deadline Day in MLS, the first stop on the silly season roller-coaster that won't truly come to an end until the winter trade/transfer window closes in early April. Seriously, there will be nearly five months of this to come. The vast majority of players who were released will fall into one of three buckets:

Report: São Paulo wants Columbus Crew SC’s Artur back in 2018 - Massive Report
The future of Artur with Columbus Crew SC might be set soon as a report from Brazil claims that São Paulo FC plans on having the 21-year-old midfielder back on its roster in 2018. According to GloboEsporte.com, the Brazilian club’s front off wants the player to the return once his loan contract with Crew SC expires at the end of the current season.

Armchair Analyst: Toronto FC vs. Columbus Crew SC tactical preview | MLSsoccer.com
Toronto FC probably feel like they should be in a better position than the one they're currently in. Wednesday night's second leg of the Eastern Conference Championship against Columbus (7:30 pm ET; FS1 in the US | TSN1/4/5 & TVAS in Canada) is essential a 90-minute, one-off, win-or-stay-home situation for the Reds.

Four finalist cities named for next two MLS expansion teams | MLSsoccer.com
Four cities will be competing for the next two MLS expansion slots that are scheduled to be announced before the end of the year. MLS announced on Wednesday that the following four expansion bids (listed in alphabetical order) will make formal presentations to MLS Commissioner Don Garber and the league's Expansion Committee on Dec. 6 in New York

United States

WNT will play Denmark in January - Stars and Stripes FC
The US hasn’t played Denmark since 2014, when they were still participating in the Algarve Cup. You’ll remember that was a wild 5-3 loss for the United States and their overall performance in that tournament, ultimately placing seventh out of 12 teams, directly led to then-head coach Tom Sermanni being released by US Soccer.

World

Transfer news: Chelsea's Willian among Barcelona's list of Coutinho alternatives | Goal.com
Barcelona have targeted Chelsea star Willian as an alternative should they fail in their attempts to sign Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool. The Catalan side saw their approaches for Coutinho knocked back by Liverpool in the summer as the Anfield side demanded €200 million for him.

Are slumping Spurs believing too much of their own hype?
Remember all those rave reviews about Tottenham Hotspur and the brilliance of the team's manager, Mauricio Pochettino? You should. They were being posted less than a month ago after Spurs destroyed Liverpool and Real Madrid at Wembley. Look what has happened since.

Real Madrid eyeing January move for Chelsea's David Luiz | Daily Mail Online
Real Madrid are weighing up a January move for Chelsea defender David Luiz. The Brazil international has dropped down the pecking order under Antonio Conte after falling out with the Italian following Chelsea's 3-0 Champions League defeat by Roma in October.