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Around The Forest: Diego Valeri guiding the Timbers to the top

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Brad Guzan talks MLS improvement, lots of USMNT news and more!

Portland:

MLS This Week: Valeri guiding Portland up the table | Boston Herald
Diego Valeri is on a tear, with goals in six straight games for the Portland Timbers.That's the longest scoring streak in Major League Soccer this season, and one short of the league record. And it's helped propel the Timbers up the standings in the West.

Major League Soccer:

Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan - MLS has grown so much - ESPN FC
Guzan, a former Chivas USA man, moved from MLS to Aston Villa in the summer of 2008 only to return this past July, joining Atlanta United in a league that looks markedly different than the one he left behind.

Soccer: Pareja has earned FCD fans' trust but maybe also a pass on roster problems | SportsDay
Dallas' best soccer journo, Steve Davis, made a very valuable observation during his weekly podcast (a must for any Dallas soccer fan, btw) - go listen - but to paraphrase his third segment, Steve is reminding everyone - while things are currently bleh, don't forget that Oscar Pareja has done miracle work with a limited roster.

Real Salt Lake uses the break to recuperate from heavy travel - The Salt Lake Tribune
This bye week, unlike the Gold Cup break, is about recuperating for Real Salt Lake.RSL will use its break in play to recover after two consecutive trips back east followed by two home games last week.

As hopes of making the playoffs fade away, Jim Curtin shifts the Union's focus
It’s not just that the Union are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, six points out of the last playoff spot. It’s that they’ve played three more games than Atlanta and two more than Montreal, both of which are tied for sixth; and one more than Orlando, which is tied with the Union on 31 points.

Can Paunovic get Chicago Fire out of its slump?
Maybe the Fire (12-9-5, 41 points) was overachieving in May and June when it went on an 11-game unbeaten streak, rising to levels it hasn't seen in years. But in losing its last four games and six of its last seven, the Fire has returned to its underachieving ways of the previous seven seasons.

Atlanta United knows what it needs to work on
Staying together as a team. Focusing as a team. Tactics for the team. Playing as a team. Atlanta United’s players gave different answers, but each featured the same theme for the No. 1 thing that needs to improve during the international break for the Five Stripes ahead of their crucial six-game home stand.

United States:

SoccerAmerica - Alejandro Bedoya fits the bill for both club and country 08/31/2017
When last seen for the USA, Alejandro Bedoya was captaining a team that squandered two penalty kicks in a Gold Cup game it had to win by three goals. It did.

SoccerAmerica - Unique culture Bruce Arena built breeds USMNT success 08/31/2017
Like his team at the 2002 World Cup, Bruce Arena has assembled a U.S. national team mixed with youngsters and veterans that is still unbeaten after 14 games in 2017. A team featuring new stars like Christian Pulisic -- but also veterans who'll take any role that’s offered to them.

ASN article: Costa Rica Rematch: That Was Then, This Is Now
The name "Jurgen Klinsmann" was not uttered even once during Tuesday’s press conference—and it did not need to be. The message from two U.S. national team veterans came through loud and clear.

Graham Zusi: Right back transition extends his USMNT career | SI.com
The urge to label, designate or typecast players has deep roots. The first jersey numbering systems, which started to take shape in the late 1920s, were anchored by position rather than the person. The goalkeeper wore No. 1, and the numbers rose as you moved toward midfield.

World:

Liverpool announce deal for Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - ESPN FC
Liverpool have signed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Arsenal in a deal worth up to £40 million. Oxlade-Chamberlain, 24, had a year remaining on his contract at Arsenal but moves on as he seeks to secure regular football in his preferred midfield role

Swansea sign Bayern midfielder Renato Sanches on season-long loan - ESPN FC
Bayern Munich midfielder Renato Sanches has moved to Swansea on a season-long loan. The Premier League club have not secured an option to buy the midfielder, but have agreed to pay a loan fee of €8.5 million.

Barcelona not interested in Leicester's Riyad Mahrez - sources - ESPN FC
Barcelona have no interest in signing Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez despite reports he had arrived in the Catalan city on Thursday, club sources have told ESPN FC.

FFP complicates PSG's move for Monaco's Kylian Mbappe - report - ESPN FC
Kylian Mbappe's proposed move from Monaco to Paris Saint-Germain is on hold as the capital club try to find a way to sign the forward and still stay within financial fair play (FFP) regulations, according to L'Equipe.

Arsenal transfer news: Joachim Low ‘cannot see’ Julian Draxler completing Deadline Day move | Goal.com
Germany head coach Joachim Low has scotched speculation suggesting that Julian Draxler could make a last-minute move to Arsenal this summer.