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Around The Forest: Minnesota United Close To Signing First Ever DP Darwin Quintero

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Also: Maxi Urruti signs new deal, Merritt Paulson and his role in women's soccer, Kljestan looking forward to date against NYRB, Gareth Southgate has words for Dele Alli and more!

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Portland

How Ana-Maria Crnogorčević fits Thorns FC's forward mold | Portland Timbers
At first glance, the move looks like a no-brainer. Thorns FC lost a forward before the season began, with Caitlin Foord going down with a foot injury in the final game of her Australian W-League season. Given the chance to get an established international such as Ana-Maria Crnogorčević – Switzerland Women's National Team's all-time leading scorer with 101 international appearances and 50 international goals – the team would certainly jump at it the opportunity, right?

Portland Thorns owner Merritt Paulson has played pivotal role in advancement of women's soccer | OregonLive.com
It was October 2012 when then-U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati decided to call several Major League Soccer owners in hopes of convincing them to launch clubs in the new National Women's Soccer League.

NWSL

Crystal Dunn right where Courage want her — anywhere on the field – Equalizer Soccer
Dunn, who returned to the U.S. after playing one season in England for Chelsea, was acquired by the Courage in an offseason trade that sent Ashley Hatch and Taylor Smith to Washington. She’s one of those rare players who can play anywhere. Riley plans to take advantage of her versatility.

Major League Soccer

Zlatan Ibrahimović has his own LA billboard - LAG Confidential
We’re not exactly sure when this whole billboard thing took off. First a small ruckus ensued last year when fans on both sides engaged in unwholesome behavior and vandalized property: Murals from Los Angeles Football Club were targeted while the other guys posed for pics in front of defaced Galaxy advertising.

Houston Dynamo sign GM Matt Jordan, head coach Wilmer Cabrera to extensions | MLSsoccer.com
“Matt and Wilmer have proven to be an excellent team who can deliver results. They are fully aligned as to the vision and plan for our club’s success," said Dynamo president Chris Canetti in a team statement. “As we look to the future, we have complete confidence in their collective ability to execute that vision and plan and lead us to our goals.”

FC Dallas sign forward Maxi Urruti to new three-year contract | MLSsoccer.com
The team announced on Wednesday that forward Maxi Urruti has agreed to the terms of a new three-year contract. The 27-year-old, with Dallas since the start of the 2016 season, has scored 22 goals in MLS regular season play for the club, along with one MLS Cup Playoffs goal, as he's helped them win the 2016 Supporters' Shield and US Open Cup.

Vancouver Whitecaps look to use Columbus Crew’s strengths against them | The Province
Key No. 1 to victory is controlling Crew midfielder Federico Higuain, who became just the sixth player in MLS history to join the 50-goal, 50-assist club last weekend, contributing two assists in their 3-1 win over D.C. United.

Minnesota United fans welcome club’s to-be first designated player, Darwin Quintero – Twin Cities
Darwin Quintero was stopped by soccer fans every few feet for autographs and photos while walking though Mexico City’s airport terminal to his departure gate Wednesday afternoon. Nicknamed “the scientist” after his namesake Charles Darwin, the 30-year-old Colombian has built up a strong following in Latin America.

Sacha Kljestan on facing Red Bulls: "I want to win this game very badly" | MLSsoccer.com
Orlando City SC may be winless to start the 2018 Major League Soccer season, but Sacha Kljestan is looking toward steering the Lions to their first victory of the year even if that comes at the expense of beating his former club when the New York Red Bulls visit Orlando City Stadium on Saturday (1 pm ET | UniMas, Twitter)

Wiebe: First-ever "El Trafico" will lay stakes for LA Galaxy-LAFC rivalry | MLSsoccer.com
After the better part of a year doing battle on the walls of their shared city via spray can, on billboards via catchy slogans and, during the past week, via splashes in the transfer market, the LA Galaxy and Los Angeles Football Club take their nascent rivalry between the lines for the first time with a sliver of common ground.

D.C. United’s Fan Groups Face Off Over New Ticketing Agreements
Patches of black and red colored the stands at the Maryland SoccerPlex, one of two venues United are calling their home away from home until Audi Field, their permanent digs at Buzzard Point, opens in July. There were the usual suburbanites, soccer moms and youth soccer players, plus a stray heckler or two.

United States

Landon Donovan’s Continuing Education - The New York Times
Landon Donovan, the most celebrated player in the history of American soccer, was driving home from the store this week in this industrial city in Central Mexico when he spotted a man on the side of the road selling pineapples.

Fanpost of the Week: International Recruiting is Crucial for the USMNT - Stars and Stripes FC
With the chaos of the US Soccer presidential election done, at least for now, it's time to take a look at some areas where Carlos Cordeiro needs to improve the US if we want to be a force on the stage that is the men's World Cup.

World

Gareth Southgate tells Dele Alli to grow up | Sport | The Times
Gareth Southgate has challenged Dele Alli to show more maturity on and off the pitch to claim a place in England’s World Cup starting line-up. The national team manager spoke to the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder after training on Monday before leaving him out of the side that drew 1-1 with Italy on Tuesday.

'Pep Guardiola overestimates his ability' - Man City boss attacked again by former Bayern Munich doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt | Goal.com
Pep Guardiola has been accused of “overestimating himself” and believing “he knows better than anybody” by former Bayern Munich doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt. This is not the first time that the Manchester City boss has faced criticism from a man he previously worked alongside at the Allianz Arena.

Jamie Vardy: 'Don't ask me about VAR. I don't even know what it stands for'
Jamie Vardy has admitted that he does not know what VAR stands for, let alone understand how it works. Vardy saw his first England goal in a year cancelled out late on when Italy’s Lorenzo Insigne netted a penalty that was awarded via the video assistant referee on Tuesday night.