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Around the Forest: MLS and LigaMX Join Forces

Also: Kaku quickly adjusting to RBNY,  National Soccer Hall of Fame ballots are in and more!

Portland

How the Portland Timbers are exploring all options to fill out the club's young ranks | Portland Timbers
he acquisitions would look ambitious for most USL teams, let alone a USL team that finished with three wins in 32 games last season. But Honduran international Darixon Vuelto and Costa Rican Marvin Loria aren’t being brought in to fit the 2017 version of T2. The pair of 20-year-old attackers, whose signings were announced last week, are part of a larger plan, one that extends from the top of Portland’s first-team depth chart to the players who are just now emerging from the team’s Academy.

Major League Soccer

Star signing "Kaku" Gamarra looking "like a Red Bulls player," says Marsch | MLSsoccer.com
In his first taste of MLS action, recently-signed Argentinean midfielder Alejandro Romero “Kaku” Gamarra showed flashes of the poise, skill and decision-making ability that made him the most expensive transfer in New York Red Bulls history.

Baer: 2018 goalfest bucking trend of slow starts to MLS seasons | MLSsoccer.com
Every year we wait three long months for MLS to return to the field. And, for the most part, we continue to wait for the play on the field to match our lofty expectations of what an exciting soccer match should look like.

NYCFC's last 2 originals reflect on club's "amazing" growth since founding | MLSsoccer.com
Tommy McNamara and David Villa have seen it all at New York City FC, from a shaky start as an expansion team to the winners of back-to-back games to open the season for the first time in franchise history, following a 2-1 win over the LA Galaxy Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

New York Red Bulls vs. Tijuana | Concacaf Champions League Match Preview | MLSsoccer.com
After making history at Estadio Caliente, the New York Red Bulls are looking to close out their Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal series with Club Tijuana and book a first-ever appearance in the tournament’s semifinals at what should be a frigid Red Bull Arena Tuesday night.

Minnesota United's Kevin Molino to miss remainder of 2018 season | MLSsoccer.com
This is the second time Molino will miss a season due to a torn ACL – he played just seven games for Orlando City in 2015 before tearing his right ACL – and it comes as a huge blow to Minnesota United, which now must move forward without one of their best players.

Warshaw: Atlanta make the adjustment, and Jeff Larentowicz leads the way | MLSsoccer.com
In Week 2, Gerardo "Tata" Martino didn’t hesitate to switch things up. He maneuvered Atlanta’s starting formation from a 4-2-3-1 to a 3-5-2, and – more importantly – he moved Jeff Larentowicz back to the veteran’s more natural central midfield position. Larentowicz partnered with Darlington Nagbe and Miguel Almiron and took the more defensive role in the trio.

Toronto FC's Bradley: CCL showdowns vs. Liga MX teams years in the making | MLSsoccer.com
When Toronto FC and Tigres UANL meet on Tuesday night in the second leg of their 2018 Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal (10 pm ET | UDN, go90.com), it will be a rare occurrence, title-holders crossing paths in continental competition so soon afterwards.

ExtraTime Radio: Can LAFC become best expansion team of all-time? MLS Wk 2 | MLSsoccer.com
MLS Week 2 is in the books, and the guys dig into all the big storylines. Matt says the biggest is rampant LAFC, whose dominating performance in Utah prompted Mike Petke to take the blame for Real Salt Lake's collective failure. David goes with the young Red Bulls, who made nine changes to the team that knocked off Club Tijuana on the road and didn't miss a beat working over the Timbers. Andrew goes with Five Stripe Nation, 72,035 of which showed to watch Atlanta United get back on track.

MLS and Liga MX join forces in new landmark partnership | MLSsoccer.com
Major League Soccer and Liga MX announced a long-term partnership, designed to strengthen the sport in North America. The alliance, bringing together the three nations involved in the United 2026 FIFA World Cup hosting bid, will focus on creating new competition to fuel the rivalry between the countries on the field as well as sharing best practices and prioritizing social responsibility efforts.

Orlando City optimistic ahead of Sacha Kljestan’s debut | SBI Soccer
For an offseason of mass rebuild, with over a dozen faces coming in and out of the club, Orlando City’s new-look lineup has brought in only the same old results.

United States

Bocanegra, Friedel, Henry among National Hall of Fame ballot new nominees | MLSsoccer.com
All told, 26 of the nominees have ties to MLS, with eight of those being first-time nominees: Juan Pablo Angel, Carlos Bocanegra, Bobby Convey, Jay DeMerit, Brad Friedel, Thierry Henry, Stuart Holden and Eddie Johnson.

Christen Press: how did a World Cup winner end up at a club she didn't want to join? | Football | The Guardian
The situation seemed typical at first: the Houston Dash acquired her from the Chicago Red Stars in a trade involving Carli Lloyd, the sort of swap that happens all the time in American sports. But it quickly emerged something was amiss. She did not acknowledge the trade on social media and the Dash didn’t immediately make her the face of the club.

World

England World Cup boycott talk is attempt to 'punish' us - Russia's foreign ministry
Russia's foreign ministry said British threats to boycott the 2018 FIFA World Cup over the poisoning of secret agent Sergei Skripal will damage the relationship between the two countries and will damage world sport.

Manchester City news: Pep Guardiola blasted by Bayern Munich doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt for lacking self-confidence and living in fear | Goal.com
Pep Guardiola is a man with "weak self-confidence" according to Bayern Munich doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt, who has lambasted the Manchester City manager in his new autobiography.

Alexis Sanchez's honeymoon period is over - Manchester United can’t wait for him any longer | Goal.com
“What is wrong is that he came at the worst moment of the season, in the winter market,” Mourinho claimed. “That’s why I don’t like the winter market very much. I think it was a chance that we didn’t want to lose and we made it, but we don’t believe a lot in the winter market.