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Around The Forest: The Portland Timbers enter the world of eSports

Also: News from the MLS Combine, Sounders pick up an assistant coach, FCD shows interest in Omar Gonzalez and more!

Portland

eMLS: Competitive gaming comes to MLS, Timbers | Portland Timbers
The Portland Timbers and MLS are entering the competitive gaming arena, partnering with EA SPORTS on the creation of eMLS, a new competitive EA SPORTS FIFA 18 league which will feature the best FIFA 18 players from the US and Canada vying for a chance to become world champions.

Major League Soccer

Stejskal: FC Dallas asked about Gonzalez, but he'll likely stay at Pachuca | MLSsoccer.com
FC Dallas inquired this winter about using the No. 1 spot in the allocation order to sign US national team defender Omar Gonzalez, but the center back is likely to remain at Liga MX club Pachuca, FCD technical director Fernando Clavijo told MLSsoccer.com on Saturday.

As LAFC's Feilhaber returns to California, soccer landscape has changed | MLSsoccer.com
Growing up in Rio De Janeiro, LAFC midfielder Benny Feilhaber was immersed in a city where soccer balls slapped against the city’s calçada sidewalks and skimmed the sands of its abundant beaches as commonly as the country’s iconic Havaianas flip-flops.

Team X 1-1 Team Tango | Full Highlights | MLSsoccer.com
The final game of Matchday 1 at the 2018 adidas MLS Player Combine ended in a 1-1 draw, with goals from Paul Marie (Florida International) and Afonso Pinheiro (Albany).

WMU's Brandon Bye leads the way in MLS Combine performance tests | MLSsoccer.com
Western Michigan’s Brandon Bye led the way in performance testing at the 2018 adidas MLS Player Combine on Friday, clocking in as the only player to finish in the top 10 in the speed, agility and power tests at Orlando City Stadium.

Seattle Sounders appoint former MLS Coach of the Year Preki assistant coach | MLSsoccer.com
If you follow American soccer closely on Twitter, there's been an ongoing question the past few years: Where's Preki?

Assessing players whose stock rose, fell in Day 1 of 2018 MLS Combine | MLSsoccer.com
The first matchday of the 2018 adidas MLS Player Combine featured the first game action for the top 2018 MLS SuperDraft prospects. With a game under their belts, here are the players whose stock rose...or fell, on day one. You can check out full streams of the two games on MLSsoccer.com to get a glimpse of these performances yourself.

New York Red Bulls sign Mike LaBelle as club's first eSports athlete | MLSsoccer.com
The New York Red Bulls became the latest MLS club to dive into the burgeoning gaming space on Sunday, signing Mike LaBelle as the club's first eSports player. LaBelle will represent the Red Bulls in the recently-announced EA Sports FIFA 18 gaming league, eMLS, and in FIFA tournaments around the world. He's the second eSports signing in MLS, following Christopher Holly, who signed with RBNY's crosstown rivals New York City FC last summer.

Report: Philadelphia Union seek to trade TAM, GAM for top-3 SuperDraft pick | MLSsoccer.com
Kevin Kinkead of CrossingBroad.com took to Twitter on Saturday to report that the Union are seeking to pull off a trade for one of the top three picks in Friday’s SuperDraft, to be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in downtown Philly, and are prepared to part with both General and Targeted Allocation Money in order to do so.

LAFC have received "multiple offers" for the No. 1 overall SuperDraft pick | MLSsoccer.com
LAFC have received multiple offers for the first overall pick in Friday’s SuperDraft, club GM John Thorrington told MLSsoccer.com on Sunday.

From son of a Spanish star to SuperDraft prospect: Get to know Jon Bakero | MLSsoccer.com
The Spanish attacker was 17, playing for his local youth club in his hometown outside Barcelona and wondering if the soccer career he dreamed of would ever even start.

United States

Landon Donovan coming out of retirement again with Liga MX's Club Leon | MLSsoccer.com
MLSsoccer.com confirmed the news on Saturday with Donovan's representative, who has also landed deals for other former MLS players in Liga MX, including Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Kekuta Manneh (Pachuca) and most recently Giles Barnes, who will be a teammate of Donovan's at Leon.

Red Bulls' Tyler Adams one big reason for optimism in USMNT's future | MLSsoccer.com
The New York Red Bulls midfielder has skill, smarts, and all the confidence in the world that he and a rising young generation that's been pegged to take command of the US national team en route to 2022 can do something special.

Finally a USMNT call-up, Christian Ramirez determined to prove he belongs | MLSsoccer.com
The Minnesota United striker has taken a serpentine path to Major League Soccer and his first national team call-up, but the arduous toil to get to this point has armed him for the challenges he faces. He showed last season that his success in the USL and NASL could carry over into MLS, scoring 14 goals as the Loons slowly grew into a competitive side.

Modder creates women’s soccer database for Football Manager 18 - Polygon
A modder playing Football Manager, the world soccer management simulation by Sports Interactive and Sega, rewrote the game’s player database to convert it to a sim of womens’ world soccer, featuring the sport’s top stars.

World

Barcelona news: Ousmane Dembele hamstring injury to see him miss three to four weeks | Goal.com
The former Borussia Dortmund winger, who was signed for a fee of €105 million in the summer, missed much of the first half of the season with a similar issue, though Barca have stressed that this problem is with a different part of the muscle.

Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp - We showed we can play without Philippe Coutinho
Jurgen Klopp felt Liverpool made an "important statement'' as they beat Premier League leaders Manchester City in their first match since selling Philippe Coutinho.

United pulling power renders Alexis Sanchez money debate redundant
Transfers, especially between two great rivals, can be emotive subjects, which explains some of the ludicrous aspersions cast on Alexis Sanchez's reported move to Manchester United. Of course money comes into his decision, but there's been an achingly tedious section of commentators claiming his choice is Pep Guardiola's holier-than-thou principles and the Evil Empire of Manchester United's riches.

Alexis Sanchez left out of Arsenal squad as move to Manchester United nears
Manchester United are increasingly confident of winning the race to sign Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal, with sources telling ESPN FC that Jose Mourinho first raised the prospect of using Henrikh Mkhitaryan as leverage for a deal last summer.