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Around the Forest: Just 5 Days until the MLS regular season

Orlando deals with Vancouver, Pep fined, Five things to know before heading into the season and more!


Timbers in Tuscon | TA Desert Corps: A mainstay of Portland's preseason experience | Portland Timbers
Two flags fly high on a temporary flagpole in a remote corner of the Kino Sports Complex. The highest bears a crest amid an all green background, displaying the name Portland Timbers across an axe’s handle. On the flag below, green, white and blue stripes rest behind a Douglas fir – a connection to Cascadia in southwest Arizona.

Major League Soccer

Orlando City trade defender Jose Aja to Vancouver for $125,000 in 2019 TAM |
Orlando will also receive an additional $100,000 in TAM if the Uruguayan is on the Whitecaps’ roster next season, as well as Vancouver's 2021 natural second-round SuperDraft pick if Aja remains with the club during the 2020 campaign. The Lions will also retain a percentage of any future transfer fee if Aja is transferred outside of MLS.

Former MLS striker Steven Lenhart has message for Galaxy, Sounders fans |
Once upon a time, Steven Lenhart had a very good case to be the biggest villain in MLS, although he was usually beloved by his own team's fans. In a video posted by San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Tommy Thompson this week, the now-retired Lenhart (after a dance-off with Thompson) has a simple message for the Quakes' main rivals' fans

Carlos Vela, LAFC's other World Cup hopefuls see benefits to MLS calendar |
While most of El Tri’s player pool are playing in Mexico and European leagues on a fall-to-spring calendar, Vela, his MLS-based countrymen like the LA Galaxy’s Giovani and Jonathan dos Santos and other Russia 2018 hopefuls will be in midseason form when the summer tournament arrives. Vela hopes it can help him arrive in Russia with fresher legs than most of his compatriots.

David Villa, Haris Medunjanin tune up for MLS season with free kick goals |
Preseason games allow players to get ready for the regular season in all kinds of ways, but on Saturday, two notable MLS players tallied impressive free kick goals.

What's in a Number? | Minnesota United FC
A player’s number exists at the intersection of chance, tradition and personal significance. On the one hand, it’s meaningless: there might be technical meanings attached to numbers like 10 or 1 or 6 in soccer, but there are no hard and fast rules about it. Such associations are easily scrubbed off them. New players are told what’s available and then they make meaning out of them. Christian Ramirez picked 21 when he got to Minnesota United because his wife wore the number 3 when she played in college.

Armchair Analyst: Full season ahead for FC Dallas | #MLSIsBack in 6 Days |
Let's rehash an old point: What happened in Frisco last season was absolutely unprecedented in MLS history. As of July 22, FC Dallas were top of the West, having ripped off four wins in seven and five unbeaten. They'd just gotten Mauro Diaz back and he was producing at least a little bit.

Report: Darixon Vuelto linked to Dynamo, though no move appears imminent |
El Once reported on Friday that forward Darixon Vuelto will be on his way to the Dynamo for the 2018 season from Honduran side Real España. The 20-year-old has scored 10 goals in 28 appearances since joining the team.

Report: Molde's Ruben Gabrielsen turned down move to MLS, says Solskjaer |
The 25-year-old defender turned down a lucrative offer from a US-based MLS club, Molde manager and former Manchester United great Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told Nettavisen. Solskjaer said the combination of the club making the bid and the size of the offer gave Molde little choice but to accept.

Quillen: Five themes to watch in Week 1 of the new MLS season |
The preseason is over, the teams are heading back to their home cities and the fans are making their tailgate plans. That's right, Week 1 of the MLS season is finally upon us, and before the first kick of a ball there are already plentiful storylines around the league

United States

Gold Cup to be expanded from 2019 – ProSoccerTalk
CONCACAF announced on Monday that 16 teams will compete from the 2019 Gold Cup onwards, with the governing body from North, Central America and the Caribbean also saying that are exploring the possibility of hosting games outside of the United States of America.

USMNT Weekly Youth Update: Injuries piling up - Stars and Stripes FC
This week saw several updates regarding players hitting the injury list as well as some notable on-field performances.


Guardiola on potential ban for wearing yellow ribbon – ProSoccerTalk
Guardiola, 47, was charged for making a political statement by the English Football Association last week as he’s been wearing a yellow ribbon publicly support his home state of Catalonia following the failed independence vote which led to local politicians being imprisoned.

Borussia Dortmund to face LAFC in May return in July for International Champions Cup
The club announced plans last month to play a friendly against MLS expansion club LAFC as a ceremonial opening to Banc of California Stadium, even though LAFC are scheduled to begin playing games there in April.

Usain Bolt: I've signed for a football team |
Bolt, who brought his glittering sprint career to an end following the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, has frequently talked up his footballing prowess and revealed last month he was set for a trial with Borussia Dortmund in March .