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Around The Forest: Arsenal Boss Arsene Wenger To Step Down

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Also: Sebastian Blanco year 2, RBNY’s Aaron Long’s rise in MLS, Toronto FC look to make a comeback and more!

Portland

Perspective and production: Sebastián Blanco thriving during year two in Portland | Portland Timbers
It took Sebastián Blanco 19 games to reach the three-goal mark last season. This year, it look him only four, and if his strong finish to 2017 is any indication, Blanco’s second year with the Portland Timbers could yield a pronounced step forward.

Major League Soccer

Report: MLS's Abbott met with potential local investors for Crew SC 04/19/2018
Less than two weeks after Columbus mayor Andrew Ginther says there are prospective investors interested in purchasing MLS's Columbus Crew SC and multiple potential downtown stadium locations identified as being suitable for a new soccer stadium, the Columbus Post-Dispatch confirmed that MLS deputy commissioner Mark Abbott and other MLS officials went to Columbus last month to meet with Columbus Partnership CEO Alex Fischer and potential local investors.

Red Bulls put focus on accommodating fans with special needs
Red Bulls general manager Marc de Grandpre was so committed to making sure young fans with autism and their families were welcomed to the team’s matches that he gave up his office. Inspired by his 10-year-old daughter Julia, who is on the autism spectrum, de Grandpre paved the way last spring when the Red Bulls became the first Major League Soccer team to create a “sensory room” to provide a safe space for young fans who might get overwhelmed in a stadium environment.

Minnesota United FC sell out of season tickets; club opens waiting list | MLSsoccer.com
Looking to get your hands on a Minnesota United FC season ticket? Get in line. The club announced this week that it has opened up a season ticket waiting list after all available 14,500 season tickets at TCF Bank Stadium officially sold out for 2018.

Boehm: Saturday's visit to Red Bulls is a key litmus test for Chicago Fire | MLSsoccer.com
What is Week 8’s can’t-miss match? Beyond the necessary advisory that we here at MLSsoccer.com value every single MLS game equally, just like a parent loves each child, several items on the weekend schedule draw the eye.

Discuss: Can Toronto FC come back to win the Concacaf Champions League? | MLSsoccer.com
Toronto FC entered the Concacaf Champions League final as the favorite to beat Chivas de Guadalajara and become the first Major League Soccer team to win the title after nine years of Mexican dominance. But by now we all know what happened. Chivas scored early and added a massive second away goal in the second half in a 2-1 victory at BMO Field on Tuesday night.

Long shot: New York Red Bulls defender Aaron Long's rise to MLS elite | MLSsoccer.com
Twice cut by other MLS teams, not only has Aaron Long found a home with the New York Red Bulls, he has developed into one of the top central defenders in the league. And now for Long, a whirlwind second year in MLS has him possibly in the mix for a first call-up to the US national team.

Tata: Atlanta United vs. LA Galaxy a clash of methodologies, philosophies | MLSsoccer.com
With his larger-than-life presence and prolific goal-scoring ability, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s blockbuster move from Manchester United to the LA Galaxy quickly sent shockwaves through MLS. In just 127 minutes of play over three league appearances, the Swede has already scored three goals, none more captivating than his long-range strike just six minutes into his debut against rival LAFC.

United States

Konami's Friendship With The Champions League Has Ended
One of the few bright spots in an increasingly bleak existence for Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer series has been the fact that back in 2008 it signed a 10-year deal with the massively-popular UEFA Champions League. That deal is now over.

Soccer on U.S. Television March 2018 | Gilt Edge Soccer Marketing
BREAKING: Mexican soccer continues to dominate U.S. airwaves. Naturally, March was no different… BUT, we had a first since we started tracking soccer’s appearances on TV: Mexican soccer swept the most-watched matches of the month and the most-featured teams category

World

Arsene Wenger to step down as Arsenal manager at end of season
Arsene Wenger has announced he is stepping down as Arsenal manager at the end of the season, bringing an end to a 21-and-a-half-year reign that brought unprecedented early success but has seen a late decline that made his position increasingly untenable.

La Liga posts record €3.6B revenue, but still well behind EPL | theScore.com
La Liga has reported record revenues of 3.6 billion euros for last season but it remains a long way short of the numbers posted by England´s Premier League. The Spanish Football League, which includes the first and second divisions in Spain, said on Thursday the total for 2016-17 represented an increase of 495 million euros compared to the previous campaign.

France veteran Malouda loses appeal in Gold Cup case – ProSoccerTalk
Former France winger Florent Malouda has lost his appeal against being ruled ineligible to play for French Guiana at the 2017 Gold Cup. The Court of Arbitration for Sport says its judges dismissed Malouda’s appeal against North American soccer body CONCACAF.