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Around The Forest: T2 announce 2018 USL schedule

Also: MLS teams open camp, Cyle Larin still under contract, Ashleigh Sykes nets a brace, Weston McKennie out six weeks and more

Portland

Thorns FC Abroad | Sykes with brace as Canberra fights back for draw with Perth Glory | Portland Timbers
With just three weeks of the regular season remaining and playoffs on the horizon, competition within the Westfield W-League has heated up. Following Round 12, just six points separate the top five teams, four of which hold on-loan players from Portland Thorns FC.

T2 announce schedule for 2018 season | Portland Timbers
After playing their first five regular-season matches on the road, due to the construction currently underway at Providence Park as part of phase one of the stadium expansion, T2’s home opener will take place on Wednesday, April 18, against Rio Grande Valley FC Toros at Providence Park.

Major League Soccer

New Montreal Impact signing Saphir Taider: "I came here to win trophies" | MLSsoccer.com
“I’m 25 years old, I could have stayed in Europe or in Italy,” Taider said during his introductory press conference Monday. “I came here to win trophies. I haven’t had a chance to win any trophies up until now, and I’m here to win, that’s it. I’m not here saying to myself, ‘I’m in MLS, all is well, the coach is good, we’ve got everything we could want here.’ No, I’m here because I want to win a championship.”

Real Salt Lake re-sign veteran goalkeeper, club icon Nick Rimando | MLSsoccer.com
RSL announced on Tuesday that veteran goalkeeper Nick Rimando has re-signed with the club, confirming a 12th season in Utah for one of the best ‘keepers in MLS history. RSL’s longest-serving player and the league’s all-time leader in wins (196), appearances (452), starts (452) and shutouts (137), Rimando is a six-time MLS All-Star and US national team World Cup veteran as well as one of the top penalty-kick specialists in MLS.

Friedel: Recent signings intended to make Revolution faster, more athletic | MLSsoccer.com
Instead of a drastic overhaul, the New England Revolution have opted for incremental change ahead of the 2018 MLS season. That comes after two consecutive seasons of missing the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, a skid that helped usher in the Brad Friedel era. The Revs maintain that their new additions are vital pieces, however.

Report: LA Galaxy one of three clubs to express interest in signing Aston Villa's Ross McCormack
Los Angeles Galaxy are among the clubs to have expressed an interest in signing Aston Villa striker Ross McCormack, according to the Daily Mail. McCormack is currently on loan to Melbourne City, where he has scored 14 goals in 16 appearances.

Atlanta United secures green card for Villalba
Atlanta United has secured a U.S green card for Argentinian Hector Villalba, a move that opens one of the valuable International slots on the roster.

The midfielder scored 13 goals and added 11 assists during the team’s inaugural season.

Jason Kreis clear on Larin: "Cyle is a contracted Orlando City player" | MLSsoccer.com
Larin, who told the Orlando Sentinel in October about his desire to continue his career in Europe in 2018, was pictured earlier in January undergoing medical tests at Turkish side Besiktas, despite Orlando's insistence that no deal to transfer Larin had been agreed. That resulted into the Lions hiring attorney Marcos Motta to handle the current transfer situation with Larin, and Orlando head coach Jason Kreis reiterated the club's position on Monday.

Camp is in session! Several MLS teams open preseason Monday | MLSsoccer.com
The road to opening day 2018 began for several teams across Major League Soccer on Monday morning, either kicking off preseason workouts or traveling to a warmer locale for the same. Here’s a rundown of who’s getting started and what they’re up to.

United States

Report: Weston McKennie out six weeks - Stars and Stripes FC
U.S. international Weston McKennie has been enjoying a breakout season with Bundesliga side Schalke 04, but over the weekend things took a turn for the 19 year-old from Texas after he subbed on for Bayern Munich-bound Leon Goretzka in the 63rd minute against Hannover.

The U.S. Soccer presidential election is impossible to predict | FourFourTwo
Make no mistake: The United Soccer Coaches convention in Philadelphia was a job interview for all eight candidates. Each candidate appeared for 15 minutes apiece at a U.S. Youth Soccer forum on Saturday, and seven of the eight had hour-long sessions over the prior two days. Next: State associations and national affiliates will be convening, either at their own annual general meetings or informally, over the next three weeks to decide how to cast their votes Feb. 10 in Orlando to decide Sunil Gulati's successor.

World

The money before the fame: RB Leipzig's troubled journey to the top
The beginnings of the club were far from glamorous, far away from the spotlight. No VIP lounges; no air-conditioned dressing rooms; no high-tech media areas. Only a few cameras from local outlets and regional television broadcaster MDR captured the first competitive match of RB Leipzig. Fifty-five supporters saw themselves outnumbered in the stands and their team secure a point against the reserve side of Carl Zeiss Jena thanks to a late own-goal.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang-Olivier Giroud talks confirmed by Arsene Wenger
Arsenal are still "not close" to any deal for Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang according to Arsene Wenger, who added that the Gunners could still explore other possibilities in the transfer market.

Inter Milan make loan offer for Liverpool striker Sturridge - sources
Inter Milan have made a loan offer for Daniel Sturridge that is still under consideration from Liverpool, a source has told ESPN FC. Liverpool are prepared to sanction Sturridge's departure from Anfield in this transfer window, but only if it is considered to be a worthwhile offer.