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Around the Forest: Giovanni Savarese Preps for Return to New York

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Also: MLS sweep LigaMX sides, Nemeth still being shopped around, Alex Morgan makes the FIFA Pro XI, another U.S. Youth International signs with Hertha Berlin and more!

Portland

New York Red Bulls vs. Portland Timbers | 2018 MLS Match Preview | MLSsoccer.com
On the heels of a historic win in the first leg of the Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals in Tijuana, the New York Red Bulls finally open the 2018 MLS regular season looking a bit younger than they did when they ended the 2017 season, following a contentious Eastern Conference Semifinals series with Toronto FC.

Major League Soccer

MLS teams sweep Liga MX sides in CCL quarterfinal first legs | MLSsoccer.com
It's only halftime, technically, of the 2018 Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal round, but it was a good week for MLS teams against Liga MX opposition. All three MLS sides in action, all facing Mexican teams, won their leg one matches. The action started on Tuesday, when the New York Red Bulls grabbed a very impressive 2-0 road win over Club Tijuana at the Estadio Caliente in Tijuana.

Crew SC's Valenzuela wastes no time in repaying Berhalter's confidence | MLSsoccer.com
The 19-year-old Argentine left back became Columbus’ first young Designated Player in January. And in Berhalter’s first interview after the signing, he said Valenzuela was his first-choice left-back signing in the offseason, calling him “a young player with a lot of potential.”

The Great Left Back Debate: Mata vs. Sweat - Hudson River Blue
In 2016, a 21-year-old Costa Rican left back by the name of Ronald Matarrita became one of New York City FC’s first-ever signings using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM), marking him as a marquee player for the future. By the end of that season, Mata was ranked 13th in MLS’s 24 under 24 list, and became the subject of transfer rumors from European clubs. In 2017, Mata remained a hot name in MLS, this time placing 16th in the MLS 24 under 24 list.

Sources: New England Revolution offered Krisztian Nemeth to multiple teams | MLSsoccer.com
Revolution head coach Brad Friedel told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday afternoon that any assertion that he doesn't rate Nemeth is "categorically" untrue and that he considers the Hungarian a "good player." He declined to comment on MLSsoccer.com's reporting that New England have offered Nemeth to multiple teams in the last two weeks.

United's Ramirez a game-time call for Saturday against Orlando City - StarTribune.com
Just forwards Christian Ramirez and Abu Danladi, as well as midfielder Sam Cronin, were missing from Minnesota United practice Tuesday at the National Sports Center. (OK, well so were Jose Leiton, Bertrand Owundi Eko'o and Luiz Fernando, but just consider those guys absent until I say otherwise.)

Kortne Ford injury: Colorado Rapids defender out 8-10 weeks with knee injury
The Colorado Rapids on Wednesday announced defender Kortne Ford will miss 8 to 10 weeks after injuring his knee in a scrimmage. The injury, which was diagnosed as a left medial collateral ligament ...

Bastian Schweinsteiger expects Chicago Fire to 'take the next step' in 2018 | Pro Soccer USA
It was a dreary Tuesday afternoon, but seemingly nothing can put a damper on Bastian Schweinsteiger’s enthusiasm — or his ambition. “I’m a player. I play football because I want to win titles,” he said. “It’s in my genes.”

Sigi Schmid optimistic Romain Alessandrini injury is not long-term | MLSsoccer.com
Romain Alessandrini's ailing hamstring will keep him out of the LA Galaxy's game Sunday at New York City FC (5pm ET | MLS LIVE), but perhaps no longer than that. In the meantime, Sebastian Lletget looks like the best option to replace him on the right, fresh off his own return following a foot injury that kept him out almost a year.

United States

Alex Morgan named to FIFPro world XI - Stars and Stripes FC
US women’s national team forward Alex Morgan has been named to FIFPro’s World XI. She is the only American to make the XI this year out of the short list of 55 candidates.

U.S. youth international defender Chris Gloster signs for Hannover - Stars and Stripes FC
The wave of young Americans moving to Germany continues with current Red Bulls Academy player Chris Gloster signing with Hannover. Gloster will make the move official on his 18th birthday at the end of July per FIFA regulations.

World

Davide Astori funeral held as thousands gather in Florence
Representatives of all of Italy's Serie A clubs were in attendance, with Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini, Claudio Marchisio, Daniele Rugani, Mattia De Sciglio, Miralem Pjanic and coach Massimiliano Allegri arriving on a charter flight from London following Juventus' victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

AC Milan clash is Wenger's last chance to save Arsenal job | Goal.com
There are some stadiums which instantly get the hairs on your back standing up when you hear their name; the Santiago Bernabeu, Old Trafford and the Maracana are just three examples. The San Siro, or Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, is undoubtedly another and on Thursday night Arsene Wenger will take his Arsenal side to the historic arena to face an AC Milan team who have been inspired by former player and new manager Rino Gattuso.

Hertha manager, sporting director defend Jonathan Klinsmann following criticism from goalkeeper coach | SBI Soccer
Hertha Berlin’s goalkeeping coach Zsolt Petry took some shots at Jonathan Klinsmann on Wednesday, and now his bosses are unhappy about it.