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Around the Forest: Orlando’s City’s Sacha Kljestan Buy’s Out Theater

Also: Alex Song trains with NYRB, What's wrong with SKC’s defense, Seattle and Montreal advance in GA Cup, Turner unveils new streaming service and more!

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Portland Timbers' draw at FC Dallas reminds us: We are still learning about Giovanni Saverese's approach | Portland Timbers
Among the dominant themes of the Portland Timbers preseason were two tactical concepts: the high press and the high defensive line. After years of the Timbers rarely using either, Portland was set to be adopt both; at least, so we were told.

Major League Soccer

TAM, GAM and trades: why MLS is the world's most overcomplicated league | Football | The Guardian
For the past four years, ESPN has conducted an anonymous survey of MLS players. There are always angles and headlines: this time around Giovani dos Santos was voted the most overrated player in the league by his peers. But in amongst the whimsy and trivia a more troublesome statement was served on how MLS is seen even by those on the league’s payroll.

Goodbye, Columbus. You didn’t deserve to be abandoned by the Crew. - The Washington Post
Departing Mapfre Stadium after D.C. United’s 3-1 defeat to the Crew on Saturday, I was overcome by a chill. It wasn’t the biting wind whipping across the barren fairgrounds but the realization that, after 23 MLS seasons, I probably won’t return here regularly for soccer anymore.

Orlando City's Sacha Kljestan buys out theater for 'Love, Simon' showing
Kljestan and his wife, Jamie Lee Darley, bought out an 8 p.m. Thursday showing of the popular movie at the Regal Winter Park Village movie theater so fans can see it for free. Tickets (limit of two per person) will be available at the box office the day of the showing on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Warshaw: What's wrong with the Sporting Kansas City defense? |
In 2018, through Week 4, Sporting have conceded the most goals in the league: nine goals in four games. That comes on a cumulative 9.51 expected goals against – nearly three times last season's mark at the same checkpoint (3.51). It’s a stark contrast, especially considering they're rolling out the same goalkeeper, back four, and defensive midfielders.

Report: Former Arsenal midfielder Alex Song trains with New York Red Bulls |
A familiar face to longtime viewers of European soccer is reportedly hitting the training field with an MLS side. That's the word from Kristian Dyer, who reported on Metro on Monday that midfielder Alex Song will be training with the New York Red Bulls this week. The report notes the spell will be strictly for training purposes, and not a trial for Jesse Marsch's team.

Did Ben Olsen have a right to be up in arms in Columbus? | Instant Replay |'s Andrew Wiebe and Stephen Keel break down the most controversial plays of Week 4 of the MLS regular season. Let us know if you agree in the comments section below.

GA Cup, Matchday 3: Montreal, Seattle advance to Premier Divison semis |
The Montreal Impact and Seattle Sounders both advanced to the semifinals in the 2018 Generation adidas Cup, defeating MLS opponents to win their groups. They will play each other on Thursday at Toyota Stadium with a chance to advance to the finals on Saturday. The Premier Division is the lower of the two divisions at GA Cup.

Which MLS players are the most popular on EA SPORTS FIFA 18? |
It’s no secret that The Journey, which brought teenage English sensation Alex Hunter to the StubHub Center — and the bright lights of Los Angeles to the forefront of the virtual footballing mainstream — opened the eyes of a brand new audience to the world of MLS.

United States

Turner Unveils ‘Bleacher Report Live’ Pay-Streaming Service – Variety
The new Bleacher Report Live service, slated to debut in April, will carry thousands of live sporting events. Those include UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League soccer matches, NBA League Pass games, 65 NCAA championship events, the PGA Championship, National Lacrosse League, the Spring League pro-football scouting event, Red Bull Global Rallycross and World Arm Wrestling League.

USMNT v. Paraguay, 2018 friendly: Scouting Paraguay - Stars and Stripes FC
The United States Men’s National Team and Paraguay will look to get over the shared disappointment of failing to qualify for the World Cup, as the two sides meet in a friendly on March 27th. Paraguay was disappointing in World Cup Qualifying, finishing 7th out of the 10 teams in CONMEBOL. Despite this failure, the team possess several talented players and should provide a tough test for an inexperienced U.S. side.


Additional fine-tuning of club competition regulations for 2018/19 onwards - UEFA Europa League - News -
With UEFA's club competitions entering a new three-year-cycle starting next season, several key changes have already been announced as part of their evolution. However, after February's UEFA Executive Committee meeting in Bratislava and the decisions taken by football's lawmakers, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), on 3 March in Zurich, more changes have been confirmed in relation to the new club competition regulations coming into effect for the 2018/19 campaign.

Raheem Sterling: Pep Guardiola's tough love brings out the best in me
It was at Selhurst Park on New Year’s Eve that Raheem Sterling feared he had blown his big chance under Pep Guardiola – but bouncing back is something the forward has needed to become good at for club and country.

Hazard 'would play at left-back' for Conte at Chelsea | FourFourTwo
The Belgium international has been used as a false nine for certain key games this season, including the 1-0 Premier League defeat away to Manchester City and the 1-1 first-leg draw with Barcelona in the Champions League last 16.