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Around the Forest: NASL Cancels 2018 Season

Also: Klingenberg working her way back to fitness, first of the season power rankings are here, Neymar to miss clash with Real Madrid, SKC re-signs trio and more!


Defender Meghan Klingenberg on track to rejoin Thorns FC practice this week | Portland Timbers
Thorns FC left back Meghan Klingenberg is expected to rejoin practice in the coming days, having missed two sessions last week while treating an ankle injury carried over from international duty. Klingenberg, who was also dealing with an illness during her January U.S. Women's National Team call-up, revealed on Feb. 19 that an ankle problem had limited her during the U.S.’ annual January session.

The new zen of a fully healthy Fanendo Adi | Portland Timbers
It’s been over six months since forward Fanendo Adi last played a competitive soccer match, far too long for a recovery that was originally described in weeks. Hamstrings, though, are notoriously tricky things, and when setback after setback pushed the return from Adi’s Aug. 8 tweak past 2017’s last game, what was once a twinge had morphed into a season-ending blow.

Major League Soccer

MLS Power Rankings, Preseason: The lay of the land ahead of the 2018 season |
Only MLS league games will be reflected in the rankings. Rankings are voted on by editorial staff and remarks were written by Alicia Rodriguez.

LAFC coach Bob Bradley confident Carlos Vela will be healthy for first game |
On a conference call with reporters Tuesday, LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said that Designated Player Carlos Vela should be healthy enough to play when the expansion club opens the season Sunday vs. Seattle (5 pm ET, ESPN), as noted by Alicia Rodriguez in Angels on Parade.

Armchair Analyst: SKC need to find the range | #MLSIsBack in 4 Days |
It should be hard to complain for Sporting Kansas City fans. Since 2012 they've won three US Open Cups and an MLS Cup, and were Supporters' Shield runners-up twice. They've got the league's best record in the 2010s, and they've made the playoffs seven straight times. They've developed international players through the draft and bought a couple via the transfer market. They found a Goalkeeper of the Year on the scrapheap and rehabbed a Defender of the Year after half-a-decade of injuries.

Sporting KC reward Tim Melia, Ike Opara and Daniel Salloi with new deals |
With the 2018 campaign about to kick off, Sporting Kansas City made a commitment to three important players — for this season and beyond. On Tuesday, SKC announced they had come to terms on new contracts with goalkeeper Tim Melia, defender Ike Opara and forward Daniel Salloi.

Stejskal: Chicago still searching for a No. 10, interested in Lee Nguyen |
The Fire do have a bit of extra time to get signings over the line before they start their season, as they won’t open the 2018 campaign until March 10 against Sporting KC, one week after most other MLS teams kick off. The extra seven days give Chicago a bit of leeway, but they don’t change the fact that the Fire feel that the roster isn’t yet whole.

Seattle Sounders sign veteran South Korean center back Kim Kee-hee | Seattle Sounders FC
The Seattle Sounders announced on Tuesday the signing of center back Kim Kee-hee. The 28-year-old South Korean international joins Seattle from China’s Shanghai Greenland Shenhua and was signed using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM). He becomes the fifth Sounders player signed with TAM, joining Román Torres, Kelvin Leerdam, Víctor Rodríguez and Magnus Wolff Eikrem.

Loons finally part ways with former captain Vadim Demidov -
A source close to the team confirmed Tuesday that United will buy out Vadim Demidov's contract, his salary worth a team-high $550,000, ahead of the roster compliance deadline of Thursday. The team is expected to make the formal announcement Wednesday.

NEWS: Two Earthquakes Players Obtain Green Cards, No Longer Occupy International Spots | San Jose Earthquakes
The San Jose Earthquakes announced today that midfielders Florian Jungwirth and Anibal Godoy have obtained U.S. green cards and no longer occupy international spots on the club's roster. The green cards drop the Quakes from 10 international players to eight, making them roster compliant for the 2018 season.

The BALL - North American can strengthen Benfica (Benfica)
Christopher Durkin, a midfielder just 18 years old, is likely to bolster Benfica next season with immediate incorporation into team B. The American player lines up at DC United - has been loaned to Richmond Kickers last season - and to which A BOLA has learned, can sign a long-term contract with the eagles, for five seasons

Armchair Analyst: TFC aim for more of the same | #MLSIsBack in 3 Days |
Athletes in any sport don't get to where they are by being anything less than hyper-focused on their individual abilities and skills. Some players are naturally a little bit more individualistic, and others a little less so, but even the greatest "team first!" players in the history of the game – Carles Puyol or Claude Makelele or *insert your personal favorite here* – spent thousands of hours working as an individual, thinking as an individual, planning as an individual.

United States

NASL Cancels 2018-19 Season - Stars and Stripes FC
It’s been a long time coming, but it seems like the NASL is just about done. The league announced Tuesday that it will not play its 2018 season in any capacity. Previously, the league had announced that they had cancelled the spring season, though this was framed as a move towards a European-style Fall-Spring calendar and away from the Clausura/Apertura model that the league had been using. Instead, the league says that they will focus on getting prepared for a 2019 season.

Report: Morocco may be leading the race to host the 2026 World Cup - Stars and Stripes FC
Much of the discussion about the 2026 World Cup bid process has been met with the assumption that the US, Canada, and Mexico would easily be awarded the event. The three countries have the infrastructure and it will have been 32 years since a World Cup was hosted in North America while South Africa hosted the tournament in 2010. Still, the election is a competitive process and for months now there have been murmurs that Morocco could defy expectations and host the 2026 World Cup.


Neymar's father expects his son to miss 6-8 weeks for PSG
The Brazilian star suffered a crack in the fifth metatarsal of his right foot and sprained his ankle during Paris Saint-Germain's 3-0 win over Marseille on Sunday, but coach Unai Emery insisted earlier on Tuesday that no decision has been made over whether Neymar will have surgery.

Arsenal news: Arsene Wenger 'amazed' his Arsenal future is in question |
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is not at all concerned about his position and is "amazed" at the focus on his future. The Gunners came in for heavy criticism for their performance in last Sunday's 3-0 defeat to Manchester City in the EFL Cup final at Wembley.

Andre Villas-Boas keen to manage in Bundesliga
Former Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas is hoping to land a job in the Bundesliga and said he would be interested in coaching Bayern Munich. Having last coached Shanghai SIPG in the Chinese Super League last season, Villas-Boas is looking to return to Europe and said he could imagine working in Germany.