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Around the Forest: Landon Donovan makes his Liga MX debut

Also: Doyle says the Timbers are chasing the clock, Giovinco still crushing set pieces, Hope Solo rips Athletes Council, Gyasi Zardes finding new life in Columbus and more!


Armchair Analyst: Timbers hope to stop the clock | #MLSIsBack in 21 Days |
A week-and-a-half ago, my colleague Bobby Warshaw wrote THIS column, in which he listed – by his own reckoning – the Western Conference contenders. They were Seattle, LA, RSL, Dallas and Sporting, with the other seven teams grouped in as "the rest."

Major League Soccer

Sebastian Giovinco keeps hitting set-piece stunners, even in preseason |
You might recall the first leg of last year's Eastern Conference semifinals, when New York Red Bulls defender Michael Murillo was caught napping as Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco drove in a game-winning free kick.

Ola Kamara believes signs of improvement already there for LA Galaxy |
Ola Kamara knows not to take too much stock in what the scoreboard shows at the end of preseason matches. Even so, the new LA Galaxy striker told that their 3-0 friendly win over New York City FC on Saturday should hearten fans hoping for an LA rebound in 2018.

Seltzer: Takeaways from another major matchday during the MLS preseason |
Saturday brought MLS fans a busy preseason slate that featured nine friendlies involving one or more league clubs, offering observers plenty of chances for note taking and forecasting before the "real" games begin next month.

Gyasi Zardes hits brace for Columbus Crew SC in Pacific Rim Cup |
No striker ever earned their keep with their preseason form, but just maybe Columbus Crew SC have bought low in acquiring Gyasi Zardes. The new arrival from the LA Galaxy hit a first-half brace in the early morning hours Friday East Coast time as Columbus played J-League side Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo to open the Pacific Rim Cup.

Sean Davis on Kljestan's comments: I'm happy with Red Bulls' approach |
"I think, if you’re a person that hasn’t followed the club that closely over the years, you may think that what he’s saying has some truth behind it, but I personally don’t agree with it," Davis said. "That’s nothing against Sacha at all. I respect him because he speaks his mind, he says what’s on his mind, and I’m sure that’s gathering a lot of attention, but in my eyes I’m really proud to be a part of this club and everything that they stand for."

New England Revolution sign defenders Jalil Anibaba, Nicolas Samayoa |
The New England Revolution added to their defending corps with the additions of two players on Friday, announcing the signings of MLS veteran Jalil Anibaba and rookie Nicolas Samayoa. Both players trialed with the team in preseason and are officially on the active roster.

Marco Urena scores again in LAFC preseason friendly |
LAFC posted a draw for the second consecutive preseason game, with a 1-1 tie against New York City FC on Friday afternoon at the expansion team's training camp at UCLA. Marco Urena scored the goal for LAFC, taking a pass from Latif Blessing in the 16th minute. Alexander Ring equalized for NYCFC in the 56th minute.

Landon Donovan debuts for Club Leon in Mexico's Liga MX |
Donovan, who came out of retirement to sign with the Mexican side back on January 12, entered the match in place of goal-scorer Andres "El Rifle" Andrade in the 83rd minute in front of the home crowd at Estadio Leon.

Darlington Nagbe, Ezequiel Barco make Atlanta preseason debut in Nashville |
An Atlanta United team that had no problem scoring goals in its inaugural season put a couple of its newest weapons on display in the 2018 preseason opener. Midfielder Darlington Nagbe served as the Five Stripes' engine during Atlanta's 3-1 victory over USL debutant Nashville SC, controlling possession and serving up an assist on the visitors' game-winning goal.

Armchair Analyst: Loons go their own way | #MLSIsBack in 20 Days |
Minnesota United weren't the worst MLS team of all-time last year, and they weren't even particularly bad by expansion standards. They had moments when they played some damn pretty soccer, proved they have a stud of a striker in Christian Ramirez, and got a sweet revenge-game victory at Atlanta United late in the year.

United States

Carlos Cordeiro elected new president of US Soccer Federation |
Carlos Cordeiro was elected as the new president of US Soccer on Saturday morning at the annual US Soccer Annual General Meeting in Orlando. The election took three rounds and while Cordeiro led all three ballots, he achieved the winning majority (50 percent plus one) in the third round with 68.6 percent of the vote.

Black History Month: John Brooks’ dream realized makes him a hero - Stars and Stripes FC
“Zusi to take it...AND IT’S THERE! What about that! It’s John Brooks! It’s John Brooks for the USA! Have they stolen it?!” With those words by the great Ian Darke, every American soccer fan who was watching the USMNT’s opening match in the 2014 World Cup rose out of their feet in bedlam. The United States had taken a late lead and it was a German-American who went down in history as the hero of the World Cup.

Hope Solo says Athletes Council 'failed many' in U.S. Soccer election
In the wake of Carlos Cordeiro's election as U.S. Soccer Federation president, Hope Solo has said she is "very disappointed" in the Athlete Council that helped propel him to victory, adding that the group failed many of its constituents in America.


Alexis Sanchez: Lionel Messi cried after Barcelona's loss to Chelsea |
Messi missed a penalty as the Catalans surrendered a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with the Premier League side - who were playing with 10 men after John Terry's sending off - which saw them lose the tie 3-2 on aggregate.

Nice allege Mario Balotelli received yellow for complaining about racist abuse
The former Manchester City, Liverpool striker was shown a yellow card by referee Nicolas Rainville in the second half after complaining about the home fans following a missed opportunity.

Antonio Conte says Chelsea struggles exacerbated by negative press
Antonio Conte claimed that Chelsea are finding it harder to rediscover their best form because people are exaggerating the extent of their struggles this season. Damaging back-to-back defeats against Bournemouth and Watford have left Chelsea fifth in the Premier League heading into Monday's clash with West Brom at Stamford Bridge, 22 points adrift of leaders Manchester City.