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Around The Forest: USMNT Moves Up To 24th In FIFA Rankings

Also: Diego Valeri quick strikes, everything you need to know about week 7 in MLS. UEFA Champions League draw and more!

Portland

Quick Strikes | Since March 2014, Diego Valeri has a goal or assist in every month he's played | Portland Timbers
After the period of road games in club history, the Portland Timbers will begin their 2018 home campaign by taking on Minnesota United FC Saturday at Providence Park (7:30pm PT, FOX 12 Oregon). Here are five numbers to know for #PORvMIN in the latest Quick Strikes.

Major League Soccer

Goose Island and Section 8 renew collaboration for 2018 – Section 8 Chicago
Goose Island and Section 8 Chicago would like to officially announce the second installment of our community partnership, Keller 31. A follow up to last year’s initial collaboration, the 20th Anniversary Black Lager, this Kellerbier symbolizes an alliance between two like-minded organizations that are pioneers in their respective fields. An ode to Chicago Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, this unfiltered lager is a crisp, clean, no nonsense beer reminiscent of its namesake’s style of play.

Longtime Real Salt Lake playmaker Javier Morales announces retirement | MLSsoccer.com
Morales, 38, spent 10 seasons with Real Salt Lake, from 2007-16. While there, he won the 2009 MLS Cup, and reached the final of the 2010-11 Concacaf Champions League, as well as the finals of the 2013 U.S. Open Cup and 2013 MLS Cup. In 248 MLS regular season games at RSL, he scored 49 goals and 81 assists.

Warshaw: How will Martino fit Ezequiel Barco in Atlanta United's lineup? | MLSsoccer.com
The gradual recovery of Ezequiel Barco from a season-opening quad strain has delayed one of the most delicate coaching decisions of the young season: How is head coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino going to get him into Atlanta United's starting XI?

Tenorio: Fernando Torres on Chicago's discovery list, team has interest | MLSsoccer.com
The Chicago Fire own the discovery rights for Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres and are interested in signing the World Cup winner, league sources told MLSsoccer.com. Torres, 34, will leave Atletico, his boyhood club, in the summer transfer window and is reportedly eyeing a move to MLS or China. The Fire are a likely destination in MLS.

Colorado Rapids believe they have what it takes to knock off Toronto FC | MLSsoccer.com
“Having played against them a couple of times with players new to the league, we feel like we know what their strengths and weaknesses are,” Rapids center back Tommy Smith told MLSsoccer.com this week. “To be fair to them, they’ll know us as well. It will be a good contest.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic gets first taste of MLS travel as LA Galaxy head to Fire | MLSsoccer.com
Zlatan Ibrahimovic's first MLS road trip spiked ticket sales in Chicago, with the Fire's game Saturday afternoon against the LA Galaxy (3:30 pm ET | Univision, Twitter - Full TV & Streaming Info) selling out this week. How concerned should those with seats be that the Swedish superstar didn't train with the Galaxy this week in Southern California? Not very.

Atlanta United's Josef Martinez in a cast, but back in training | MLSsoccer.com
It’s one of the juiciest matchups of the early Major League Soccer season with New York City FC heading to Mercedes-Benz Stadium to meet Atlanta United on Sunday (6 pm ET | FS1) in what should be a high-flying showdown of attacking powerhouses.

DC United game vs Crew a big event for Navy soccer, Annapolis area | MLSsoccer.com
For Navy men’s soccer coach Tim O’Donohue, Saturday’s MLS match at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium is an excellent chance to gain some exposure. In one of the college soccer’s biggest hotbeds, that’s not always easy.

Boehm: Quietly, Greg Vanney leads TFC ever deeper into uncharted territory | MLSsoccer.com
Many coaches are known for their sideline theatrics: Think of Jose Mourinho’s iconic knee slide at Real Madrid, or Jurgen Klinsmann’s animated reactions during US national team games, or Peter Vermes’ irate protestations as he prowls the Sporting Kansas City penalty area.

Armchair Analyst: Your complete guide to the Week 7 MLS slate | MLSsoccer.com
Over the last two weeks Orlando City have won back-to-back games – in dramatic, almost preposterous fashion – for the first time in nearly a year. They've done it by toggling through formations (diamond 4-4-2 to 4-2-3-1 to a box-ish 4-4-2) and tossing one of the league's more robust collections of attacking talent onto the field at any given time.

How Orlando's Mohamed El-Munir found pro soccer, and a way out of Libya | MLSsoccer.com
Need a feel-good story for your weekend? Check out this interview with Orlando City outside back Mohamed El-Munir. A native of Libya's capital city of Tripoli, El-Munir describes how he became a professional soccer player, and how embracing the sport helped him find a way out of his war-torn homeland.

United States

USMNT rises to 24th in FIFA World Rankings - Stars and Stripes FC
Fresh off a 1-0 victory late last month over Paraguay, the United States saw themselves move up slightly in the April 2018 FIFA World Rankings, rising one spot to 24th. The top two spots in the rankings remained unchanged, with Germany (#1) and Brazil (#2) keeping their grasp over the rest.

World

Bayern Munich confirm Niko Kovac as next coach on three-year deal
Bayern Munich confirmed Niko Kovac as the club's next manager on Friday but drew sharp criticism from his current employers, Eintracht Frankfurt, for allegedly leaking the news a day earlier.

Liverpool to face Roma in Champions League semi; Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid
Madrid, the two-time defending Champions League winners, advanced to the semifinals of Europe's top club competition for an eighth straight year on Wednesday after Cristiano Ronaldo scored a penalty against Juventus in the 97th minute.

Noisy neighbours! Man United stars blasted out music at top volume after Man City win | Daily Mail Online
Manchester United's players got their own back on their City rivals by blasting out the dressing room music at top volume following Saturday's stunning comeback at the Etihad Stadium. Jose Mourinho's team had clearly not forgotten City players mocking them by singing the 'park the bus' chant after their derby win at Old Trafford back in December.