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Around The Forest: Diego Chara, Mario Kart, Robots, Mallory Pugh and more

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This is how the robot apocalypse starts...

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Portland Timbers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning! And welcome to another edition of Around The Forest. Grab your favorite morning beverage and get yourself up to speed.

Timbers

Quick Strikes | Midfielder Diego Chara continues to be an important ballwinner in the midfield | Portland Timbers
The Portland Timbers head to Montréal to take on the Impact Saturday (12:00pm PT, ROOT SPORTS) at Stade Saputo. Here are five numbers to know for #MTLvPOR in the latest edition of Quick Strikes.

Plugged In | Amobi Okugo is a big fan of Mario Kart and Twitter | Portland Timbers
It’s a busy world with apps, phones, music, books, video games and more. We talk with Portland Timbers midfielder/defender Amobi Okugo about he uses when he's plugged in.

Timbers Roots | Jake Gleeson grew up in New Zealand a fan of cricket and rugby | Portland Timbers
This latest edition: Jake Gleeson. One of the club's inaugural MLS players, Gleeson has appeared in 40 matches for the Timbers and was part of the team's 2015 MUSWNT star Mallory Pugh discusses blazing a trail by going pro at 19 years old | FOX Sports
Mallory Pugh doesn’t seem entirely comfortable with being called a “trailblazer.” She laughs a bit sheepishly at the suggestion, even though she’s taking a path with almost no blueprint: The 19-year-old is skipping college to turn pro in the NWSL after signing with the Washington Spirit.

LS Cup run. Gleeson talks about his childhood in New Zealand and how he started out in soccer as a striker.

Thorns

Five Questions | Thorns FC's Adrianna Franch on basketball and small-town vibes | Portland Timbers
1 - The NWSL and Portland Thorns FC enter their historic fifth professional season. Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch was in the league during its inaugural season in 2013, and now is in her second year with the club. “Growing up, I saw the other leagues that haven’t lasted this long.

NWSL

Mallory Pugh is ready for NWSL -- but is the league ready for her?
Mallory Pugh is a talent well ahead of her years. Now that she's a pro in the NWSL, we wait to see if the league and the Washington Spirit are mature enough to capitalize on their good fortune.

What does the new NWSL Players Association mean for players and the league? | FOX Sports
The National Women’s Soccer League, which is in its fifth year, is one step closer to having a union for players.

Dash players embrace formation of NWSL Players Association - Houston Chronicle
Amber Brooks is one of two Dash representatives - along with Kealia Ohai - in the new NWSL Players Association. The association represents the league's non-allocated players.

MLS

Nick Rimando claims MLS saves record, completes domination of all-time list | MLSsoccer.com
Nick Rimando already owned every other cumulative record in the goalkeeping book, and on Wednesday night, he conquered that final mark.

Meet REX: The robot giving young hospital patients a seat at SKC matches | MLSsoccer.com
Children’s Mercy and Sporting KC teamed up to bring young hospital patients a unique matchday experience, debuting REX – a remote experience robot consisting of an iPad on a pole with a pair of self-balancing wheels – at SKC's 3-0 win against Seattle on Wednesday at Children’s Mercy Park

5 MLS stars of tomorrow you should be following now | FourFourTwo
By now, if you follow MLS, you know all about the potential of rising prospects like Alphonso Davies, Brooks Lennon and Tyler Adams. They are the poster boys of the league’s youth movement, and deservedly so.

MLS' best center-back tandems: Some love for the game's overlooked stars | FourFourTwo
When it comes to talking soccer, of course it’s more fun to hold forth about strikers, to ooh and ah over those who score the goals. No getting around it: Talking about center backs just isn’t as sexy.

San Diego State ends talks on sharing proposed MLS stadium - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8
San Diego State University announced Tuesday that it has ended negotiations with the group behind the Soccer City development proposed for Mission Valley, and called on the city of San Diego to i

USOC

Christos FC upset Richmond Kickers in the US Open Cup - Black And Red United
Another professional DMV team has a bad performance

NASL

Orange County NASL team files trademark on possible name - Angels on Parade
Looks like it won’t be the Wolves after all.

International Soccer

ASN article: Injuries, Potential, Question Marks Define U.S. U-20 Side
THE UNITED STATES U-20 TEAM is now in South Korea for its final preparations ahead of its World Cup opener on Monday against Ecuador. There are reasons for American fans to feel both optimistic and pessimistic about this team.

Why this CONCACAF Gold Cup might be most important one for US - NY Daily News
This July’s CONCACAF Gold Cup might be the most important one ever as it serves as the final international tournament hosted on U.S. soil before bids for the 2026 FIFA World Cup must be submitted.

U.S. forward Jozy Altidore desperate for World Cup return
With two pivotal World Cup qualifiers fast approaching for the United States men’s national team, Jozy Altidore's thoughts are rooted in the present and future of American soccer.