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Around The Forest: LAFC Unveil Banc Of California Stadium

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Also: Whitecaps could make a move for a CB, Is CCL fever starting to break, TAM funds having an effect on International roster spots and more!

Portland

USL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS | Portland Timbers 2: 3, Rio Grande Valley FC Toros: 2 | Portland Timbers
Highlights from T2's 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Rio Grande Valley FC at Merlo Field on April 18. Three different players scored for the win for T2 as the club extended a three-match unbeaten run.

Major League Soccer

Report: Vancouver Whitecaps could make move Motherwell CB Cedric Kipre | MLSsoccer.com
French 21-year-old defender Cedric Kipre is among the Vancouver Whitecaps' summer targets according to a report from The Scottish Daily Mail. Kipre is under contract with Scottish Premier League club Motherwell through the 2019-20 season, but could move to MLS for a fee of roughly $1.4 million, the Daily Mail reports.

Report: Stephane Mbia, Atlanta United fail to agree to terms in talks | MLSsoccer.com
After traveling from Spain to meet with Atlanta United club officials, Cameroonian midfielder Stephane Mbia will not be joining the club to fill a need in their defensive midfield, according to Twitter account AllezLesLions.

Wiebe: Is our Concacaf Champions League fever breaking? | MLSsoccer.com
I wish I was joking when I say it appears Toronto FC’s Concacaf Champions League fate is trending toward the all-too-familiar gut punch yet again, but alas Tuesday turned to Wednesday and the pit is still lodged in my stomach. Chivas de Guadalajara went to BMO Field and grabbed a pair of away goals in a 2-1 win that flips the favorite label back to Liga MX just as we were all starting to believe Mexico’s hegemony was close to crumbling.

Even with position tweak, Darlington Nagbe showing his quality for ATLUTD | MLSsoccer.com
Darlington Nagbe’s adjustment to life with Atlanta United has appeared to be a relatively easy one so far. After a blockbuster move from the Portland Timbers to Atlanta last December, the midfielder has settled in well with his new club, starting all six games so far and going the full 90 in the last five.

Opinions differ on Chicago Fire's struggles, but expectations remain high | MLSsoccer.com
Saturday’s 1-0 loss to the LA Galaxy, in front of a record crowd at Toyota Park, was the Fire’s second defeat in four home games, and prompted captain Dax McCarty to suggest the team were “below average” and “lacking a little bit of quality all over the field.” Meanwhile, head coach Veljko Paunovic insisted the team was “growing” and “getting better,” showing “more fluidity” and creating “more chances.”

Philadelphia Union's Fafa Picault aiming to be "great," earn USMNT recall | MLSsoccer.com
When Fafa Picault returned from a three-game suspension earlier this month, he expressed confidence that he’d be able to quickly get back to speed while pointing out to reporters that he was coming off a 2017 season in which he was “the American with the most goals as a winger.”

Tenorio: TAM funds cause domino effect for international slots, MLS trades | MLSsoccer.com
There are only six open international spots around the league – one each owned by New England, Seattle, Sporting Kansas City, Toronto FC, Portland and Vancouver – and while several teams have the maneuverability to open roster space with loans or by waiving players, the price for the international spots is going up.

LAFC's Banc of California Stadium is officially open for business | MLSsoccer.com
Below a giant golden bow on Wednesday, LAFC executive chairman and co-owner Peter Guber welcomed several hundred attendees inside a completed stadium he hopes will become a “modern day campfire” for Los Angeles.

LAFC's Omar Gaber chats about Egypt World Cup dream, his "brother" Mo Salah | MLSsoccer.com
Mere hours before Mohamed Salah scored his 30th goal of the English Premier League season, a looping header at Anfield to put Liverpool up 2-0 against Bournemouth, his longtime teammate and friend Omar Gaber made his LAFC and MLS debut, trotting onto the pitch as a substitute at BC Place in the final minutes of his team’s 2-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps.

United States

Lowered Expectations: Week 7 — American Soccer Analysis
Welcome to Lowered Expectations, the week seven edition! Each week, we go about posting chalkboards and GIFs of the weekend’s best open-play shot attempts that did not quite live up to expectations. We look at each one and not only evaluate the results, but also the process that led to them.

US Youth Soccer Announces New Leagues Structure - The US Youth Soccer National Leagues - National League News - News | US Youth Soccer
US Youth Soccer is pleased to unveil its new US Youth Soccer National Leagues Program for high-level competitive leagues that will kick-off in the 2018-19 soccer season. The US Youth Soccer National Leagues Program will feature a network of Conferences (formerly known as Regional Leagues) that are more geographically focused, under one leadership and management structure, and linked into the highly successful National League and National Championship Series.

World

FIFA's World Cup VAR plans look great, but that doesn't mean they'll work great
Less than two months before video assistant referees make their controversial World Cup debuts in Russia, FIFA unveiled its comprehensive VAR plans for the 2018 tournament on Wednesday. And in a surprising development, those plans look great.

Raheem Sterling targeting future Premier League success after Manchester City claim title | Football News | Sky Sports
Pep Guardiola's side claimed the crown with a record-equalling five matches to spare and despite City having been on course to win the title for some time, Sterling insists he is already looking to future league success.

Napoli fights back, Juventus stumbles, and suddenly there's a Serie A title race again
There have been several moments over the past two months that felt like Serie A tipping points. Several saves, goals, games or weekends that seemed to set the title race on its way back toward the status quo – away from Napoli, toward Juventus, and in the direction of the rest of the major European leagues. Toward boredom.