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Around The Forest: Kekuta Manneh transfers to Pachuca of Liga MX

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Also: Timbers push back home opener in 2018, 10 Storylines that will define the offseason, Top teens of 2017 and more!

Portland

Portland Timbers 2018 home opener pushed back to April 14 due to stadium expansion construction | OregonLive.com
While their season will begin on the road with a matchup against the LA Galaxy in Los Angeles on March 4th, the Portland Timbers will be forced to wait over a month into the 2018 Major League Soccer before they can kick off in front of their home fans at Providence Park next season.

Major League Soccer

If the Ezequiel Barco transfer fails, what’s Plan B? - Dirty South Soccer
Well. That escalated fast. Within weeks after waxing poetic about Ezeqiuel Barco and denying that Atlanta United had any chance of actually signing him, it looks like that’s a distinct possibility. But Barco’s club, Independiente, are drawing out this transfer in hopes that someone — anyone — comes in to challenge Atlanta’s bid. And that could happen at any time, as we saw last winter when Oscar Romero bolted to China even after agreeing a transfer to Atlanta. Darren Eales, Carlos Bocanegra, and Lucy Rushton have surely pinpointed some alternatives in case the worst-case scenario happens.

Kekuta Manneh departs MLS for Pachuca in Liga MX | MLSsoccer.com
Manneh's departure comes after earlier speculation he would sign a new contract to stay in MLS, where he has shown promising flashes but has yet to post a truly consistent season. Manneh also went on trial with German 2.Bundesliga side Union Berlin earlier this month.

Stejskal: 10 winter storylines that will define the MLS offseason | MLSsoccer.com
The few short weeks between MLS Cup and the MLS Player Combine and SuperDraft are upon us and coaches and front offices are hard at work scouting internationally, working the phones in the trade market and getting the lowdown on college soccer’s top prospects as they look to make moves that will leave their clubs in a solid position heading into the 2018 season.

Reports: Montreal Impact interested in Canadian legend Atiba Hutchinson | MLSsoccer.com
Atiba Hutchinson has once again been linked to a Canadian club. TVA Sports’ Vincent Destouches and a Turkish report on Tuesday claimed that the Montreal Impact are interested in the longtime Besiktas and Canada national team central midfielder.

Best of MLS: Top 5 teens of 2017 | MLSsoccer.com
Teenagers. At times tantalizing with their on-field potential, at others frustrating with their youthful mistakes. While they’re certainly prone to inconsistency, there are quite a few teens in MLS who are providing plenty of hope for the future of their clubs.

Seltzer: MLSers that deserve a call to the US national team's January camp | MLSsoccer.com
It's nearly time again for the US national team's annual January camp, otherwise known as the best chance for unproven MLS players to show they belong on the USMNT level. This yearly event also brings with it much discussion about which guys have earned a shot to raise their USMNT status.

Unite States

The USSF Presidential Race Is an Indistinct Mush - Stars and Stripes FC
Politics and campaigning in contemporary America trends toward a general monochrome most of the time. There are too many different people to please, too many ways to offend, and too few color schemes and wardrobe ensembles to prevent candidates of most offices from becoming almost indistinguishable beyond their vague promises and a general “us vs. them” mentality.

World

Harry Kane Blows Past Lionel Messi And Alan Shearer's Goal Scoring Marks In Final Game Of 2017
With his 8th hat trick - 6 in the Premier League - and 39th Premier League goal and 56th overall of 2017, Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane set two new scoring marks.He moved past Barcelona’s Lionel Messi to become Europe’s top scorer in 2017 and he also broke Alan Shearer’s single year Premier League goal record.

Kylian Mbappe Reveals Contact With Real Madrid Before PSG Move
Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe revealed he held talks with Real Madrid prior to moving to the French capital, though he insisted it is in the past. A move to Spanish and European champions Madrid appeared on the horizon for Mbappe amid intense speculation after helping Monaco win Ligue 1 in 2016-17.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger laughs off Sam Allardyce claim that Olivier Giroud's wife blocked Everton move
Arsene Wenger has laughed off Sam Allardyce's suggestion that Olivier Giroud's wife blocked a move to Everton last summer, and confirmed that the striker will be sidelined until mid-January with a hamstring problem.