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Around The Forest: Nashville officially given the go for expansion

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Also: Franch named Female GK of the year, lots of players comings and goings and more!

Portland

Adrianna Franch named 2017 CONCACAF Female Goalkeeper of the Year, three other players earn additional awards | Portland Timbers
Portland Thorns FC goalkeeper Adrianna Franch was named Tuesday as the 2017 CONCACAF Female Goalkeeper of the Year. Additionally, Franch, Thorns midfielders Lindsey Horan, Allie Long and defender Emily Menges were all named to the CONCACAF Best XI.

Major League Soccer

Stejskal: Colorado Rapids sign US international Edgar Castillo on loan | MLSsoccer.com
Castillo is expected to undergo a physical in Colorado before the start of the New Year. The Rapids will have an option to acquire him permanently following the end of the loan. The club will not use Targeted Allocation Money or a Designated Player slot on him.

Reports: Costa Rican attacking midfielder set to join DC United | MLSsoccer.com
It seems more talent is traveling the well-trodden path from Costa Rica to MLS this winter, with multiple reports stating that Ticos attacker Ulises Segura is set to move from Saprissa to D.C. United and Black-and-Red general manager Dave Kasper confirming to the Washington Post on Wednesday that a deal is near.

New York Red Bulls sign Florian Valot from New York Red Bulls II | MLSsoccer.com
“We are pleased to add Florian to the senior roster,” said Red Bulls sporting director Denis Hamlett. “Florian is another promising young player that impressed us at the USL level and earned this opportunity. He was identified during our college scouting, invited to play with our Under-23 team and signed a professional contract. Adding him to the first team roster is a proud moment for Florian, his family, and everyone at the club.”

Report: Montreal Impact in running for Legia Warsaw's Thibault Moulin | MLSsoccer.com
A Polish outlet reported on Wednesday that Moulin may leave Warsaw to join the Impact. An attacking midfielder, the 27-year-old Moulin has appeared in 19 matches for Warsaw this season, recording a pair of goals. He moved to the Polish giants last year, briefly playing with Chicago Fire forward Nemanja Nikolic before his transfer to MLS, and recording a pair of goals in 32 appearances. He also boasts experience playing in the Champions League group stage.

Carlos Vela scores in final game for Real Sociedad before joining LAFC | MLSsoccer.com
The Mexican international, playing his final match for Sociedad before joining incoming MLS expansion club LAFC, scored in the 90th minute of the club’s 3-1 home win against Sevilla to send the home supporters into hysterics.

With Nashville confirmed, more expansion updates could come soon | MLSsoccer.com
"Tomorrow, we're going to announce what our timing is to name the second expansion team that'll join Nashville. We are also making a lot of progress in Miami, and we're hopeful that we're going to be able to bring that team over the finish line. That will bring three new teams into the league and we need to figure out how we're going to stage those teams."

Nashville ownership group praise Atlanta's example, eye Southeast rivalry | MLSsoccer.com
When MLS2Nashville Chairman Will Alexander visited the Major League Soccer offices on Dec. 6, he mentioned that part of the city's pitch was that it would close a geographic hole in the MLS map, instantly providing the closest league club for 13 million fans across nine states.

United States

US Soccer confirms official slate of 8 federation presidential candidates | MLSsoccer.com
The race to succeed Sunil Gulati as US Soccer Federation president is officially underway, as the federation on Wednesday released the slate of eight candidates who have fulfilled the requirements to compete in the election in February.

World

Paolo Guerrero eligible for 2018 World Cup after suspension reduced
The FIFA Appeal Committee on Wednesday has reduced Paolo Guerrero's suspension for taking a banned substance from one year to six months, meaning the Peru international can play for his country at the 2018 World Cup.

Sorry, Jose, but Bristol City weren't 'lucky' to beat lax Man United in League Cup shocker | Goal.com
The League Cup has been extremely good to Jose Mourinho since he arrived in England in 2004 but on Wednesday it dealt him and his Manchester United side a hefty blow as they were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by Bristol City.

Júlio César and the heroics that defined a brilliant career
AT THE SOUND OF HOWARD WEBB’S FINAL WHISTLE, several players appeared as though they might collapse onto the pitch. One hundred and twenty minutes of frantic football could not separate Brazil and Chile, and as a result, the first knock-out round match of the 2014 World Cup would be decided by penalties.